Howto: Backports; latest and greatest for Sarge

Share your own howto's etc. Not for support questions!
Post Reply
Message
Author
Lavene
Site admin
Site admin
Posts: 5095
Joined: 2006-01-04 04:26
Location: Oslo, Norway

Howto: Backports; latest and greatest for Sarge

#1 Post by Lavene »

This HOWTO describes how to install packages from backports.org. The method described in this HOWTO is just one of several approaches one can use and does not claim neither to be the best nor the most effective way to use Backports. Although the described method should be safe it's always a good idea to make a backup of important data before doing major changes to the system. This HOWTO is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. It has been written in the hope that it will be useful to the community but it comes with no warranty; use it at your own risk.

A lot of people feel that Debian Sarge is growing old and opt for installing Testing or Unstable instead in order to get the latest packages. The downside of this is that Testing and Unstable is prone to breakage. Backports.org is a repository that has a lot of the latest packages compiled for Sarge so that one can get the latest and greatest packages without having to upgrade the entire system to Testing/ Unstable.

Preparing your system for Backports.org:
Open, as root, the file /etc/apt/sources.list and add the backports repository. A typical sources.list with the backports included might look like this (your sources list might look different, but the important thing here is the Backports entry):
# Stable
deb ftp://ftp.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib non-free

# Backports
deb http://www.backports.org/debian/ sarge-backports main


# Security
deb http://security.debian.org/ stable/updates main
We want to be able to choose what packages we want to install/ upgrade from Backports so we will utilize apt's pinning to give Backports a lower priority than Debian Stable. This is done in the file /etc/apt/preferences by adding an entry for Backports.

You might find that you have no such file, but don't panic! Just create it, as root, with your favorite text editor. The /etc/apt/preferences will typically look something like this (your preferences file might look different. The important thing is the backports entry):
Explanation: see http://www.argon.org/~roderick/apt-pinning.html
Package: *
Pin: release o=Debian,a=stable
Pin-Priority: 900

Package: *
Pin: release a=sarge-backports
Pin-Priority: 200


Package: *
Pin: release o=Debian
Pin-Priority: -10
Installing packages from Backports.org:
When you have edited the sources.list and preferences the first thing to do is updating the package list:

Code: Select all

apt-get update
To install packages from Backports, say the newest available Firefox, you do

Code: Select all

apt-get -t sarge-backports install firefox
And that's it!

Links:
Backports: http://www.backports.org/
Packages: http://www.backports.org/debian/pool/
Backports disclaimer (READ!!): http://www.backports.org/warnings.html

Enjoy!
Tina :)

woosting
Posts: 31
Joined: 2006-07-25 14:32
Location: netherlands

Synaptic in combo with blackports

#2 Post by woosting »

Background information:
I have a sarge system on which I want to use a newsreader that supports NZB-files. I installed PAN but it din't work. It took me 2 days to find out only the newer versions of PAN support NZB files. So Either I install a new version of PAN or I need another NZB-supporting newsreader (suggestions are more then welcome!!).

I remembered an erlier advice of Lavene to check out Backports and (re)found this excellent tutorial and thus far, using Backports to install a newer version of PAN seems the best solution (since PAN seems to be the most frequently used news-reader), However... here comes my question:

Question
Although I usually use APT to install/upgrade packadges but I also use synaptic sometimes. What is the effect of using Backports on the the usage of synaptic?

Lavene
Site admin
Site admin
Posts: 5095
Joined: 2006-01-04 04:26
Location: Oslo, Norway

Re: Synaptic in combo with blackports

#3 Post by Lavene »

woosting wrote:Question
Although I usually use APT to install/upgrade packadges but I also use synaptic sometimes. What is the effect of using Backports on the the usage of synaptic?
I'm not 100% sure about this (I'm not a big fan of synaptic) but I *think* that if you pin 'Backports' lower than the Sarge repo Synaptic will simply ignore it. If you don't pin it though, synaptic will choose whatever is newer.

But you want to pin it lower than stable because if you don't then your next upgrade/ dist-upgrade will upgrade everything apt finds in Backports.

Tina

woosting
Posts: 31
Joined: 2006-07-25 14:32
Location: netherlands

Re: Synaptic in combo with blackports

#4 Post by woosting »

Thx Tina! You keep amazing me with your swift replies!

However, aparently Backports did not have a newer version of PAN, so my quest continued and I suddenly thought if I can point apt towards backports, I can probably also let it point to an testing (alias etch) repository... which led me to the following post where this is explained. Allthough I still had some questions on the topic over there which I posted as 'Guest'.

A little off-topic:
Lavene wrote:I'm not a big fan of synaptic
Why not? It seems to work quite wel (especially when searching for a package of which one doenst quite know the name). Anyway to return to my own question above, I found out that one can switch on/off repositories (which I think synaptic reads from the /etc/apt/sources.list) when any problems arise...

tinker
Posts: 189
Joined: 2006-09-09 18:13

Re: Synaptic in combo with blackports

#5 Post by tinker »

Lavene wrote:I'm not 100% sure about this (I'm not a big fan of synaptic) but I *think* that if you pin 'Backports' lower than the Sarge repo Synaptic will simply ignore it. If you don't pin it though, synaptic will choose whatever is newer.
It's possible to force install of the backport with synaptic, from the menu under package-->force version.

Probably a better idea would be to pin the discrete packages you need by name rather than the whole backports repository.

And of course, check your dependencies and recommends before proceeding.

If you pin backports at 99 a package will only install if no version is already installed, that might be safe enough, depending on your system.

Of course all the cautions you express are valid and prudent Lavene.

Lavene
Site admin
Site admin
Posts: 5095
Joined: 2006-01-04 04:26
Location: Oslo, Norway

Re: Synaptic in combo with blackports

#6 Post by Lavene »

woosting wrote:However, aparently Backports did not have a newer version of PAN, so my quest continued and I suddenly thought if I can point apt towards backports, I can probably also let it point to an testing (alias etch) repository... which led me to the following post where this is explained. Allthough I still had some questions on the topic over there which I posted as 'Guest'.
Yes, you can easily point apt at 'testing'. This can however lead to a rather big upgrade since the package's dependencies, if any, also is from 'testing'. It might work without problems or it might cause a massive upgrade.
woosting wrote:A little off-topic:
Lavene wrote:I'm not a big fan of synaptic
Why not? It seems to work quite wel (especially when searching for a package of which one doenst quite know the name).
Well, mostly because I can do things faster with 'apt-get'. Searching for packages is also very quickly done with 'apt-cache'.

Tina

woosting
Posts: 31
Joined: 2006-07-25 14:32
Location: netherlands

#7 Post by woosting »

Sorry to be paranoia, but since this could ruin my live server I would like to be as sure as possible b4 I actually start messing around :) So I have two more quetions:

1) How do I find a testing (etch) repository to place in /etc/apt/sources.list (and secondary: how do I find nearby/fast repositories in general)?

2) I read on some page that when one uses only 2 (from the defaults: stable,testing,unstable) repositories there is no real need of changing apt's pinning. Is this right? So when I comment the Blackports and add the testing repository (you will probably give me in answer of question 1) to my source.list I dont have to create an /etc/apt/preferences, right?

My current /etc/apt/sources.list:

Code: Select all

## deb file:///cdrom/ sarge main

deb ftp://ftp.surfnet.nl/pub/os/Linux/distr/debian/ stable main
deb-src ftp://ftp.surfnet.nl/pub/os/Linux/distr/debian/ stable main

deb http://security.debian.org/ stable/updates main

# Backports
#deb http://www.backports.org/debian/ sarge-backports main

EDIT: After some googling

AD 1) I think I can just make my source.list:

Code: Select all

## deb file:///cdrom/ sarge main

# STABLE
deb ftp://ftp.surfnet.nl/pub/os/Linux/distr/debian/ stable main
#deb-src ftp://ftp.surfnet.nl/pub/os/Linux/distr/debian/ stable main

# TESTING
deb ftp://ftp.surfnet.nl/pub/os/Linux/distr/debian/ testing main

# SEQURITY
deb http://security.debian.org/ stable/updates main

# Backports
#deb http://www.backports.org/debian/ sarge-backports main

AD 2)
IF I understand correctly no pinning is needed, since I only use 2... (a confirmation on this would be nice though)

Lavene
Site admin
Site admin
Posts: 5095
Joined: 2006-01-04 04:26
Location: Oslo, Norway

#8 Post by Lavene »

woosting wrote:AD 2)
IF I understand correctly no pinning is needed, since I only use 2... (a confirmation on this would be nice though)
I have always used pinning so I have never tried it, but it seems like putting

Code: Select all

APT::Default-Release "stable"
in your /etc/apt/apt.conf should do the trick.

You should be able to 'test-drive' it using the -s option (simulate) in apt-get though:
apt-get -s -t testing install <package>
Maybe someone else that's familiar with 'default-release' can confirm ..?

Tina

woosting
Posts: 31
Joined: 2006-07-25 14:32
Location: netherlands

#9 Post by woosting »

I thought it could privide others insight to post my findings:

Yeah it worked! Adding

Code: Select all

APT::Default-Release "stable";
(mind the ; !) to my /etc/apt/apt.conf changed priority levels from:

Code: Select all

apt-cache policy pan
pan:
  Installed: 0.14.2.91-2
  Candidate: 0.113-1
  Version Table:
     0.113-1 0
        500 ftp://ftp.surfnet.nl testing/main Packages
 *** 0.14.2.91-2 0
        500 ftp://ftp.surfnet.nl stable/main Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
to:

Code: Select all

apt-cache policy pan
pan:
  Installed: 0.14.2.91-2
  Candidate: 0.14.2.91-2
  Version Table:
     0.113-1 0
        500 ftp://ftp.surfnet.nl testing/main Packages
 *** 0.14.2.91-2 0
        990 ftp://ftp.surfnet.nl stable/main Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
The bad news is that it din't solve my (personal) problem. Tesdriving with a:

Code: Select all

apt-get -s -t testing install pan
gave a lot of dependancy errors:

Code: Select all

Reading Package Lists... Done
Building Dependency Tree... Done
Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
or been moved out of Incoming.

Since you only requested a single operation it is extremely likely that
the package is simply not installable and a bug report against
that package should be filed.
The following information may help to resolve the situation:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
  pan: Depends: libatk1.0-0 (>= 1.12.2) but 1.8.0-4 is to be installed
       Depends: libglib2.0-0 (>= 2.10.0) but 2.6.4-1 is to be installed
       Depends: libgmime-2.0-2 but it is not going to be installed
       Depends: libgtk2.0-0 (>= 2.8.0) but 2.6.4-3.1 is to be installed
       Depends: libpango1.0-0 (>= 1.12.3) but 1.8.1-1 is to be installed
       Depends: libxfixes3 but it is not going to be installed
       Depends: libxinerama1 but it is not going to be installed
E: Broken packages
but that was expectable... maybe using the pinning mehtod will bypass this? I think not, however I will try this later today (I have to go now). If that doesnt work I will probably just migrate to testing, or be patient, since the new stable is due December :P

Anyway I learned a lot from this tutorial (and the answers to my questions)! Thanks!

tedux
Posts: 37
Joined: 2006-10-11 02:24
Location: MO (USA)

atheros

#10 Post by tedux »

anyone know if the madwifi drivers are in the backports?

Can a person load a kernel moduler from synaptic?

I have had no luck following the directions from madwifi, and posts. something is missing (.../2.6.8-2-386/.config)
Linux Hobbyist (End-User) Insprion 1000, 2.2celron, 512mb, SiS chipset, Debian GNU/Linux (Testing)

User avatar
Humbletech99
Posts: 365
Joined: 2005-12-29 00:03

#11 Post by Humbletech99 »

Lavene: why bother putting backports repo in your sources? Why not just put testing or sid in your sources and pin those as a lower priority instead?
The Human Equation:

value(geeks) > value(mundanes)

User avatar
canci
Posts: 1705
Joined: 2006-09-24 11:28
Location: Bosnia & Herzegovina

#12 Post by canci »

Humbletech99 wrote:Lavene: why bother putting backports repo in your sources? Why not just put testing or sid in your sources and pin those as a lower priority instead?
Well, maybe some ppl just want to keep their system as stable as possible
and only want to have some packages in a newer version. Then backports
are great. I personally would do a li'l test run before having a server
w/backports online. This however should be no problem now that
Etch is officially stabilized :D Aren't you guys happy we lived to see that
day? Hehe
I ken hez kinvulf beck? I ken hez riesnible modereyshn? Kthnxbai!

No need to discuss this topic? Offended by this signature? Remove it:
Mez wrote:You can easily just disable viewing signatures

Click here - and set "Display Signatures" to No

plugwash
Posts: 2508
Joined: 2006-09-17 01:10
Contact:

#13 Post by plugwash »

Humbletech99 wrote:Lavene: why bother putting backports repo in your sources? Why not just put testing or sid in your sources and pin those as a lower priority instead?
because then you end up with dependancies generated by the depscanner dragging in testing/unstables versions of core libraries.

Lavene
Site admin
Site admin
Posts: 5095
Joined: 2006-01-04 04:26
Location: Oslo, Norway

#14 Post by Lavene »

plugwash wrote:
Humbletech99 wrote:Lavene: why bother putting backports repo in your sources? Why not just put testing or sid in your sources and pin those as a lower priority instead?
because then you end up with dependancies generated by the depscanner dragging in testing/unstables versions of core libraries.
Exactly :)

User avatar
rickh
Posts: 3473
Joined: 2006-06-29 02:13
Location: Albuquerque, NM USA

#15 Post by rickh »

why bother putting backports repo in your sources? Why not just put testing or sid in your sources and pin those as a lower priority instead?
Shows a crucial misunderstanding of the character of the Stable release. Stable is intended to be used by critical servers and production environment workstations. Updating it with applications from Testing or Unstable will break things. Applications from backports.org have been thoroughly tested for compatibility with the Stable branch.
Debian-Lenny/Sid 32/64
Desktop: Generic Core 2 Duo, EVGA 680i, Nvidia
Laptop: Generic Intel SIS/AC97

User avatar
Humbletech99
Posts: 365
Joined: 2005-12-29 00:03

#16 Post by Humbletech99 »

So it's just to stop you pulling in deps from Testing/Unstable?

Is memory serving and it accurate that backports are not official?

I see how this is a good idea to use recompiled packages that depend on stable libs...
The Human Equation:

value(geeks) > value(mundanes)

plugwash
Posts: 2508
Joined: 2006-09-17 01:10
Contact:

#17 Post by plugwash »

backports.org is not official but it has been going for quite some time and i haven't heared of any problems with thier packages (i have to say i preffered the old way they ran thier archive in the woody days than the one they have been using for sarge though)

jongi
Posts: 477
Joined: 2007-04-15 02:41

#18 Post by jongi »

When one does the pinning, does that mean that backports is no longer decativated?

Arthur Archnix
Posts: 94
Joined: 2007-09-21 04:06

#19 Post by Arthur Archnix »

Thanks for this, and the link. The source of info you link to has an example of how to pin a non-debian repo at a lower priorty that helped me set up the debian multimedia repository.

Post Reply