Upgrade Debian Woody to Debian Sarge

From Nick Jenkins
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A very helpful resource is the the official upgrade manual.

Make a backup of sources.list:

cd /etc/apt
cp sources.list sources.list.woody

Check aptitude is installed:

dpkg -l aptitude

Check nothing found:

dpkg --audit

Save installed packages:

dpkg --get-selections > /etc/apt/woody-pkgs.txt

Check nothing found:

aptitude search "~ahold" | grep "^.h"
dpkg --get-selections | grep hold

Update from woody to sarge in the sources.list :

nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Keep a log of the upgrade process:

script -a ~/upgrade-to-sarge.typescript

Update list of known packages (should say sarge, not woody, in the downloads)

apt-get update

Upgrade aptitude:

aptitude install aptitude

Dist-upgrade with aptitude:

aptitude -f --with-recommends dist-upgrade


Priority of questions: high (medium is the default)

Post configuration setup[edit]

Remove some obsolete packages that I had installed by hand previously:

Remove ucspi-tcp-src

apt-get remove --purge ucspi-tcp-src

Remove qmail-src

apt-get remove --purge qmail-src

Recover from failed reboot[edit]

Rebooted - machine did not boot up. Gave following LILO error:

Bootable CD not exist ...


To resolve did this:

  1. Download and burn Debian 4.0r0 netinst i386 disk
  2. Boot from CD
  3. press F1
  4. press F4
  5. type "rescue"
  6. go through initial 7 or 8 steps
  7. choose "execute a shell in /dev/ide/host0/bus0/target0/kun0/part5"


cat /etc/fstab

Mount the partitions listed there:

mount /usr
mount /var
mount /home
mount /proc

Re-run lilo:

cat /etc/lilo.conf

... came back okay after the reboot.