Upgrading Debian from lenny to squeeze

February 6, 2012 by iWeb Technologies in: Web Hosting Articles

Debian is the OS of choice for many of our customers. As of February 2011, Debian’s latest stable release is version 6.0, code name squeeze. When a new version is released, the prior stable version becomes oldstable. As of 2011, this is version 5.0, code named lenny.

iWeb currently only offers Debian lenny as an install option on Smart Servers. Many of you requested that we supported the latest Debian distro named squeeze.

We are working on implementing this distribution (as well as updating the other available OSes) to be available out of the box with Smart Servers. Luckily Debian can be upgraded successfully manually from lenny to squeeze by installing grub-legacy after the upgrade and before rebooting your Smart Server.

Here’s the step-by-step procedure:

1. First of all upgrade your system to last lenny

 apt-get update
 apt-get upgrade

2. Record a transcript of the upgrade session

 script -t 2>~/upgrade-squeeze.time -a ~/upgrade-squeeze.script

3. Edit the /etc/apt/sources.list file to replace lenny to squeeze.

 sed -i -e 's#lenny#squeeze#g' /etc/apt/sources.list

4. Upgrade the package index.

 apt-get update

5. Install new apt and dpkg

 apt-get install apt
 apt-get install dpkg

6. Minimal system upgrade

 apt-get upgrade

7. Install new kernel

 apt-get install linux-image-2.6-flavor

(to retrieve correct flavor type:

 uname -r


8. Install new udev

 apt-get install udev

9. Once you have upgraded both the kernel and udev, the system should be rebooted.

10. When system go up, fully upgrade the system

 apt-get dist-upgrade

11. Install grub-legacy

 apt-get install grub-legacy

12. Remove obsolete packages

 apt-get autoremove

13. Read Debian release note (4.9) to check the list of obsolete packages.

14. Now reboot and enjoy your new squeeze system.

Caveat emptor: As blogger Jeremy Cole mentioned in a recent post « if your system is not a “stock” lenny install, i.e. with 3rd party deb sources and a bunch of custom stuff, your mileage may vary.  I did this to a fresh, new server before anything else. Basically, the standard instructions break grub-pc (GRUB2) on this Xen-based system.  Follow along until the end, then remove grub-pc and re-install grub-legacy. Your system will then be ready to go!».

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