[clug] Advice request on upgrade to Debian Squeeze local mirrors?

Felix Karpfen felix.karpfen at gmail.com
Tue Mar 22 00:56:15 MDT 2011

On Tue, 22 Mar 2011 09:21:02 +1100, Scott Ferguson wrote:

> On Sun, 20 Mar 2011 21:49:14 +0000 (UTC) Felix Karpfen wrote:
> Suggestions for future reference:-
> #apt-get -s upgrade | more

That reads as though it would need intervention from me after every 
screen. I do not think that would help.  See below.

>> "apt-get dist-upgrade" worked OK until I ceased to watch it and took a
>> break (from watching).  I thought that stopping at the point where I
>> was asked to insert my second DVD was safe.
>> It was not.  When I came back from my break, I could not open the CD-
>> drive to insert the next DVD.
> dmesg? logs?
>> Total disaster. 

I meant that.

The disk drive was locked, The screen was black. The keyboard did nothing.
>> It appears that you cannot interrupt the
>> "dist-upgrade" and come back later.
> You can (Ctrl+Z, and you can continue from a crash) 

No response from keyboard! Not even with "Alt+SysRq+<S,U,S,U,B>".

> though you'll have to remove the lock file before you can continue 

That was what the computer said after I did the unthinkable and pulled 
the plug out.  Did not help me, because I did not know which lock file.

> this has happened to me
> many times doing the same using the internet instead of DVDs.
> (3"spit"Mobile Wireless Broadband)

I had read that a fluctuating connection to the Internet can cause 
disaster during a "dist-upgrade".  It is one of the reasons why I had not 
taken this route seriously.

I could have looked at the script that recorded everything that happened 
during the "dist-upgrade".  But I was too discouraged (and probably lack 
the know-how to fix the problem).
> If I were you I'd go the parallel or virtualbox route first,

I normally shut down everything and run "apt-get" routines from a 
console.  I could not work out how to get to the console after the 
changed format that was delivered by the (successful) boot into Squeeze; 
so I settled for using an xterm -  and lived to regret that decision!
> your problems could be many things - my one coffee guess would be 
> ;dodgy DVD
> ;no upgrade path for one or more of your Lenny packages

My guess is quite different.

I blame the "xscreensaver" routines, some of which may have been 
mutilated during the uncompleted upgrade  My screen normally goes black 
when the computer is not in use for some 10 minutes.  But it comes back 
to life by tapping any key on the keyboard. Stopping at the "change disk" 
instruction meant that the computer was doing nothing for 30 minutes or 
so.  But the keyboard had locked; everything had locked!

> Note also my earlier suggestion about debian-user mailing list:-
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-user/

Technically, I have subscribed to it and can read the headers of the 
daily postings on my news-reader.  But queries that I send (via the 
newsreader) do not score any reply; they appear (on my newsreader) on the 
day that they are sent and vanish without a trace 24 hours later.  

The list is monitored and I get a notification every month that I am 
still a bona-fide member.  Maybe the newsreader-routine is not 
acceptable; and I am not prepared to clutter up my mailbox with 150+ 
emails every day - 98% of them well beyond my comprehension! 

Wiping the board clean (reformatting the partition) and starting again is 
likely to be less time-consuming than finding and repairing the cause(s) 
of a broken dist-upgrade - even if I knew a lot more than I do about 

At least I have learned where not to stop and take-a break.

Thank you for the continuing interest and advice.


Felix Karpfen
Public Key 72FDF9DF (DH/DSA)

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