Is a partial 'upgrade' on Debian possible??

Matthew Hawkins matt at
Sun Feb 2 16:17:38 EST 2003

Sam Couter (sam at wrote:
> And as for "KDE 3 sometime reasonably soon"... I havne't been
> following all that closely, but I believe it depends mostly on the
> GCC3.2 transition. I don't know how soon "reasonably soon" will end up
> being.

I heard a rumour on freenode yesterday that it'll be "later this week".
Treat that with the suspicion it deserves ;)

On the subject of partial upgrades, someone else recently asked about
this and here's pretty much what I told him/her/it.

Apt provides targets and the concept of a default distribution, hence
you can configure apt to say your default distribution is "stable" -
hence standard upgrades and installs will pull from there - then when
you want something from unstable or testing, use "-t unstable" etc. to
select the unstable target.  apt will do its standard job of properly
resolving dependencies.

Now, the trick with unstable at the moment is that it has progressed
further away from stable, with a new libc6 minor version and gcc-3.2
(along with the C++ ABI changes that incurs) amongst other things.  This
means that when you pull a package using the unstable target, you will
most likely pull down those versions of libc6 and gcc, along with
anything else in the system that depended on them.  You're pretty much
doing the equivalent of a dist-upgrade anyway.

As for pinning, that's kind-of related but not quite.  You can use a pin
and pin-priority to alter how apt sees packages - the process is done
during an "apt-get update".  The pin specifies a package by various
criteria such as version, release and origin, and the pin priority
alters how apt orders installation candidates of multiple versions of
that package (ie, you've got multiple vendors or releases in apt's
sources.list).  I recently used it to downgrade xfree86 from an
unofficial CVS version which was horribly broken by pinning all the
xfree86 packages to the version number of the working copy in unstable,
and setting the downgrade pin priority.

Now... apart from editing apt's preferences file & sources.list, how
were the packages upgraded/downgraded?

$ apt-get update
$ apt-get upgrade

Pretty simple :)

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: not available
Url :

More information about the linux mailing list