[CLUE-Cert] Installing Debian 2.1 and upgrading it

John Kottal jlkottal at americanisp.net
Mon Nov 27 18:02:23 MST 2000

After watching the Debian demonstation at the CLUE meeting this month, I
decided to try it to update an existing Debian installation over the
Internet. This message is to share my experiences doing this with Debian
2.1 as the base installation, and 2.2 as the goal.

The test system was a 233 MMX Pentium, 128 MB RAM, a 3.5 GB HD
partitioned as follows:

    131 MB swap file on /had1
    2.0 GB Slackware 7.1 installation on /hda2
    1.5 GB partition open on /hda3

I planned to install Debian onto the /hda3 partition.

Installation from the CD went normally. I chose the default developer
workstation (compiler, sources, and network) without Xwindows and had no
problems with it.

When I got ready to do the Internet upgrade, I got error messages that
the apt-update script could not find one of the source listings. I had
to modify the existing /etc/apt/sources.list file to remove the line
with the non-US information in it, leaving the file to point only to

    deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian stable main contrib non-free

Once I did this, there was no problem, and I was able to issue "apt-get
update" and then "apt-get dist upgrade".

The program then did its thing, taking about an hour to download the
updated packages. Next it ran the update script, and towards the end of
it, began giving problems.

Here's what happened. It was going nicely, upgrading its little heart
out, when suddenly it ground to halt with these last messages on the

        Setting up pdksh(5.2.14-1)
        Setting up perl-5.004-doc (5.004.05-6)

        Setting up perl-5.004-suid (5.004.05-6)

        Setting up rsh-client (0.10-7)

        Setting up libstdc++2.10-dev (2.95.2-13)

        Setting up g++ (2.95.2-13)

        Errors were encountered while processing:
        E: Sub-process returned an error code

Debian states that one can run the update script in the multi-user (init
level 2) mode, and that the installation program will stop whatever
daemons are running to update them and then restart them. As near as I
can tell, this was not happening with the cron deamon, and since all the
other programs that would not install were in some way dependent upon
upgrading first the cron package, or each upon other in some incestous
way, when the install for the update to cron failed, so did they.

After getting help from some of the CLUE members, I changed into single
mode (init level 1) and ran the apt-get dist-upgrade script; it
installed the rest of the programs without problem.

All I had to do then had was a kernel update, using dselect, and it went
without problem and I then had a 2.2 system up and running.


This method is feasible if one has a fast Internet connection. My aDSL
connection needed about an hour to run the update: I would not try this
over a modem.

While it is a feasible method, I believe that I will, in the future, buy
the CD-ROM, at least for the major releases, because it is handier to
work with than having to do a download. The download method is useful
for minor releases where there is not much to update.

John Kottal

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