[plug] Two questions about Debian system and upgrading

Bret Busby bret at busby.net
Thu Mar 1 17:07:38 WST 2007

On Fri, 23 Feb 2007, Marcos Raul Carot Collins wrote:

> Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2007 19:31:06 +0900
> From: Marcos Raul Carot Collins <marcos.carot at gmail.com>
> Reply-To: plug at plug.org.au
> To: plug at plug.org.au
> Subject: Re: [plug] Two questions about Debian system and upgrading
> Debian only updates automatically minor versions of the kernel (usually!).
> Search in Synaptic for "linux-image" and you will find all the available
> official kernels for sarge.
> Happy weekend!
> Marcos R. Carot Collins
> Murdoch University Field Support (Rockingham)
> Shannon Carver escribió:
>> Hi Bret,
>> Okey, firstly, if you're referencing "Stable" repositories in your
>> /etc/apt/sources.list, I'm pretty sure that's the only thing you have to
>> change to switch between stable/unstable/testing.  The message you see
>> at login prompt will merely be the message stored in /etc/profile, or
>> /etc/motd, or /etc/welcome (I can't remember for the life of me where
>> it's kept).  It may even be in /etc/defaults/version or something like
>> that, a google should provide an answer.
>> Doing a synaptic update should do everything apart from the latest
>> kernel module, you'll have a -kernel or similar in your
>> /etc/apt/apt.conf which tells it to ignore kernel updates.  I'm not sure
>> how good you are with kernel building, but I'd either be getting the
>> kernel sources from kernel.org and building it yourself, or remove the
>> -kernel directive from apt sources and attempt to update to the latest
>> debian kernel.  I remember installing sarge with an early 2.6.x kernel,
>> so you should be able to upgrade straight to that tree, the benefits are
>> usually noticeable.
>> Regards
>> Shannon
>> Bret Busby wrote:
>>> I am running Debian Linux on my desktop computer, as a workstation.
>>> At the login prompt, it says
>>> "Debian GNU/Linux testing/unstable".
>>> In the /etc/apt/sources.list file, is
>>> "
>>> deb http://ftp.uwa.edu.au/mirrors/linux/debian/ stable main contrib
>>> non-free
>>> deb http://ftp.wa.au.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib non-free
>>> deb http://security.debian.org/ stable/updates main contrib non-free
>>> ".
>>> ls -l shows that the file is as it is, since 2007-01-01.
>>> Updates have been performed, using Synaptic.
>>> The first question is, how do I convert the system to Debian stable
>>> (sarge)? As the sources are from stable, the installed packages should
>>> now be mostly packages that would be in the stable version.
>>> The second issue relates to the kernel. The kernel version appears to
>>> be 2.4.18-bf2.4 .The CPU is a Duron 1100, for which I believe that the
>>> installed kernel is not the latest version.
>>> Is it possible to update the kernel, without having to build a kernel
>>> package? If so, how? I cannot find how to update the kernel, without
>>> having to build a kernel package, in any of the documentation. When I
>>> previously used Red Hat 7.2 (which was from before Red Hat went like
>>> Microsoft), the update facility would update the kernel (although,
>>> each time, I would have to manually update the file that pointed to
>>> the kernel), but Synaptic won't do it.
>>> Thanks in anticipation.
>>> --
>>> Bret Busby
>>> Armadale
>>> West Australia
>>> ..............

Hello, Marcos.

Unfortunately, that does not seem to work.

When I log in to the computer, at a console (>CTRL> <ALT> <Fx>), in the 
line after the "Last Login" information, is
"Linux <computer name> 2.4.18-bf2.4 #1 Son Apr 14 09:53:28 CEST 2002 
i686 GNU/Linux".

So, I assume that the kernel is the x686 version.

In Synaptic, in the kernel packages, is kernel-image-2.6-686 , which has 
the blurb:
"Linux kernel image for version 2.6 on PPro/Celeron/PII/PIII/P4.
This package will always depend on the latest 2.6 kernel image 
available for Pentium Pro/Celeron/Pentium II/Pentium III/Pentium 4."

So, I selected that to install.

The Synaptic history shows:
"Commit Log for Thu Mar  1 15:17:54 2007

Installed the following packages:
kernel-image-2.6-686 (101sarge1)
kernel-image-2.6.8-3-686 (2.6.8-16sarge6)
module-init-tools (3.2-pre1-2)
" .

The module-init-tools was a dependency.

When Synaptic was doing the setup or configuration of the packages, it 
came up with a message, with instructions, to the effect that it would 
not work unless LILO was modified.

It said that to configure LILO, I needed to "add an 'initrd=/initrdimg' 
to the image=/vmlinuz stanza of /etc/lilo.conf .

It also said that I need to put "do_initrd = Yes" in 
/etc/kernel-img.conf , to avoid the message recurring whenever a kernel 
is updated.

I followed those instructions, and continued with the update/upgrade, 
and rebooted.

I did not run LILo, as the message from Synaptic (I think I saw it 
there), said to only run LILO, if Linux was the only operating system, 
and this computer is dual booting, into Windows XP and Linux. Also, In 
the Syaptic dialogue, there were two prompts - the first was whether to 
reun LILO, and the second was whether to create a new boot image. From 
what I understand, both were recommended against, as I am running a dual 
boot system, so I did not do either.

From /var/log/messages:
"Mar  1 15:46:40 localhost kernel: Linux version 2.4.18-bf2.4 
(root at zombie) (gcc version 2.95.4 20011002 (Debian prerelease)) #1 Son 
Apr 14 09:53:28 CEST 2002"

I then, in the boot sequence, got the message "udev needs a kernel >= 
2.6.8 so will not be loaded" (or something like that), and "HAL needs a 
kernel later than 2.6 so will not be loaded", or something like that, 
and both of these lines, while displayed during the boot sequence, are 
not included in /var/log/messages .

Anyway, after having supposedly installed and set up the kenel image 
2.6.8-3-686, it does not load on bootup, and I remain with the kernel 
that, as I have just realised when putting the information together for 
this message, predates the release of Debian Linux 3.1, or, sarge, as 
stable, and is apparently, almost 5 years old.

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
  you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
   Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
   "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
   A Trilogy In Four Parts",
   written by Douglas Adams,
   published by Pan Books, 1992


More information about the plug mailing list