Upgrade Debian Wheezy to Debian Jessie

Disclaimer: These are my notes when upgrading. They have been/will be updated by other sysadmins. However, these are our notes, so they may be somewhat cryptic. They are provided publicly in hopes someone will find them useful beyond us. I'm also enabling comments so anyone out there who wants to add to them can do so.

These notes contain the combined experience of Rod (me), DavidN, BrianB and DarrenD as we raft down the rapids of not only a distribution upgrade, but changing to System D.


Always, always, always update the the latest and greatest of everything. Defintely do an apt-get update && apt-get upgrade before you do anything, and if you see any kernel or lib upgrades, reboot the freakin' machine.

As DavidN pointed out, made sure you have enough disk space for the upgrade. He didn't and had all sorts of "fun" getting the upgrade to work. You'll need about 4G for /usr, /lib, stuff like that. I generally have those all one one partition (/), so I just do a df to see how much space I have

A very important command is

apt-get clean

This cleans out the apt (and aptitude) cache; years and years of downloaded packages which you've added/upgraded since your machine was built. I have seen it free up well over a gig on a moderately old machine.

Perl Libraries

We have a program named sysinfo (NOT in the main Debian repository), and when I built the package for it, I put the libraries in /usr/lib/per5, and wheezy handled that just fine. However, jessie appears to not keep that in its perl path, so I had to move it to /usr/share/perl5. As a quick fix, I created a symbolic link with the following commands

ln -s /usr/lib/perl5/SysinfoLinux.pm /usr/share/perl5/SysinfoLinux.pm
ln -s /usr/lib/perl5/SysinfoWindows.pm /usr/share/perl5/SysinfoWindows.pm

New repository package with same name as home grown one

Additionally, we have a program called rsbackup, but jessie has a new package with the same name. Until I get around to changing our name (I'm thinking rsbackup_cs for client/server), I have to pin rsbackup to our repository

create file /etc/apt/preferences.d/rsbackup as per man apt_preferences

Package: rsbackup
Pin: origin "debian.dailydata.net"
Pin-Priority: 1001

Save, then do an

apt-get update && apt-get install rsbackup

serial console for xen HVM domU's

jessie will not show the screen when being installed, so you must use vnc to do the installation. Once done, you can not use the -c (console) flag. You have to bring up the system and connect either via ssh or vnc,then make the following changes to get systemd to show a serial console. See https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Working_with_the_serial_console for the standard way of doing it, but the following notes work.

In /etc/default/grub, add the following lines

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="console=tty0 console=ttyS0,38400n8"
## Serial console
GRUB_SERIAL_COMMAND="serial --speed=38400 --unit=0 --word=8 --parity=no --stop=1"

Now, you must update grub2 (so you can watch the console when grub is in control), then turn on serial. This is very different under systemd than it was previously

update-grub2 # update grub so the above commands are included
# use systemctl to enable serial port ttyS0
systemctl start getty@ttyS0.service
systemctl status serial-getty@ttyS0.service
systemctl enable serial-getty@ttyS0.service

BTW, the archlinux wiki is one of the best documentations of grub I've seen.

SystemD Barfs on non-critical drive issues.

I placed a hard drive from another system into a jessie machine. It had a RAID and LVM2 list on it. System-D tried to mount it and failed, then went to the Control-D prompt. When I attempted to "continue" it again tried to load it, ending in a loop I could not break out. I had to instead go to a command prompt and use wipefs --all /dev/sdx to get it cleaned. Also, with an error in fstab, did the same thing. You are required to drop to a command prompt and troubleshoot, keeping your server down for extra time. See https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=760848

Something about keysym and xmodmap

DavidN sent me this rather cryptic (to me) note:

Ran into another gotcha..... keysym apLineDel has been removed from xmodmap/xorg/x-somethingorother ...... I use xmodmap because I use a DEC keyboard and I need to map the special keycodes it sends. Unfortunately, xmodmap now bails out because of apLineDel --- billyclub solution was to comment apLineDel in .Xmodmap, but that may cause me grief on my VMS mappings... we'll see. --- at least ´ and ~ work now

Dell 2950 issues

BrianB found a problem with Dell 2950's using the LSI FusionMPT card. Following is a chat between he and DarrenD

BrianB:That Dell 2950 is unusable with the LSI FusionMPT card I have in it (8 SAS ports) under Jessie.
DarrenD: weird
BrianB: apparently there are problems with the mptsas kernel module and how systemd operates. the kernel guys and the systemd guys can’t agree on how to handle the situation. since early 2014. so systemd has some growing pains to overcome. so I’ll be doing a fresh install of wheezy back onto that Dell 2950.

Xen HVM configuration files

It appears that Xen 4.4 (standard in Jessie) changes the config files once again. The good news is that the good people at Xen have put some sample configuration files in the /etc/xen directory. Just look at them and create them anew.

I found the disk stuff a little confusing, to say the least. If you want to see the official definition of the XL Disk Configuration options, see the following link.


Once I modifiied my hvm configuration files, they worked just fine.

Tags: debian, jessie, systemd, upgrade, wheezy
Last update:
2015-07-26 05:48
Average rating:0 (0 Votes)

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