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Sometimes, changes have side-effects we cannot reasonably avoid, or we expose bugs somewhere else. We document here the issues we are aware of. Please also read the errata, the relevant packages' documentation, bug reports and other information mentioned in Further reading, Section 6.1.
udev has been tested extensively, you may experience
minor problems with some devices that will need to be fixed. The most common
problems are changed permission and/or ownership of a device. In some cases a
device may not be created by default (e.g.
udev provides configuration mechanisms to deal with these issues.
/etc/udev for further information.
Some applications in etch may no longer work with a 2.4 kernel, for example because they require epoll() support, which is not available in 2.4 kernels. Such applications may either not work at all or not work correctly until the system has been rebooted with a 2.6 kernel.
One example is the HTTP proxy
Since 2.6.17, Linux aggressively uses TCP window scaling which is specified in
RFC 1323. Some servers have a broken behavior, and announce wrong window sizes
for themselves. For more details, please see the bug reports
There are usually two workarounds to these problems: either revert the maximum
allowed TCP window sizes to a smaller value (preferable) or turn off TCP window
scaling altogether (deprecated). See the example commands in the
By default, the etch version of
apt uses a new way to update APT
package index files (when you run aptitude update) which downloads
differences files (instead of the full package index file) called
pdiff. This new feature should use less bandwidth and be faster
for most systems. Unfortunately, it can also have the opposite effect of
making the updates slower on systems with fast network connections (or a very
nearby mirror) which are infrequently updated, as it might take more time for
the system to merge the differences files than to download a full package
index. It is possible to disable this feature by adding Acquire::Pdiffs
"false"; to the
This change mostly affects users of the unstable and testing branch of Debian GNU/Linux, due to the changing nature of these archives. Users of etch will notice this feature mainly when updating their package status for the security archive.
On systems which use
udev to load drivers for network interfaces,
it is possible due to the asynchronous nature of
udev that the
network driver will not be loaded before
runs on system boot. Although including allow-hotplug to
/etc/network/interfaces (in addition to auto) will
ensure that the network interface is enabled once it becomes available, there
is no guarantee that this will finish before the boot sequence begins to start
network services, some of which may not behave correctly in the absence of the
Mounting vfat, ntfs or iso9660 file systems with files that include non-ASCII characters in their filenames will give failures when one tries to use the filenames unless mounting is done with the utf8 option. An indication might be the following failure: 'Invalid or incomplete multibyte or wide character'. A possible solution is to use defaults,utf8 as mount options for vfat, ntfs and iso9660 file systems when they contain filenames with non-ASCII characters.
Note that the Linux kernel does not support case-insensitive filename handling for vfat when the utf8 option is used.
In rare cases the sound might stop working after the upgrade. If this happens,
go through the alsa checklist: run
alsaconf as root user, add your
user to the audio group, use alsamixer and make sure levels are up
and it is unmuted, make sure arts or esound stopped, make sure OSS modules
unloaded, make sure speakers are on, check whether the command cat
/dev/urandom > /dev/dsp works for root.
The 2.6 kernel series contains major changes from the 2.4 series. Modules have been renamed and a lot of drivers have been partially or sometimes almost completely rewritten. Upgrading to a 2.6 kernel from an earlier version is therefore not a process to be undertaken lightly. This section aims to make you aware of some of the issues you may face.
If you compile your own kernel from source, make sure you install
module-init-tools before you reboot with the 2.6 kernel. This
modutils for 2.6 kernels. If you install one of
linux-image packages, this package will be installed
automatically because of dependencies.
If you use LVM, you should also install
lvm2 before you
reboot as the 2.6 kernel does not directly support LVM1. To access LVM1
volumes, the compatibility layer of
lvm2 (the dm-mod module) is
used. You can leave
lvm10 installed; the init scripts will detect
which kernel is used and execute the appropriate version.
If you have entries in the
/etc/modules file (the list of modules
to be loaded during system boot), be aware that some module names may have
changed. If this happens you will have to update this file with the new module
Once you have installed your 2.6 kernel, but before you reboot, make sure you have a recovery method. First, make sure that the bootloader configuration has entries for both the new kernel and the old, working 2.4 kernel. You should also ensure you have a "rescue" floppy or CD-ROM to hand, in case misconfiguration of the bootloader prevents you from booting the old kernel.
The transition to X.Org involves some structural changes. In case all installed packages are from Debian and also included in etch, the upgrade should work without problems. However, experience has shown that there are a few changes to be aware of, as they can potentially cause issues during the upgrade.
The most important change is that
/usr/X11R6/bin has been dropped
and only remains as a symlink to
/usr/bin. This means the
directory has to be empty at the time the new packages are installed. The new
packages conflict with most packages that used
in some cases manual intervention may be needed. Please remember to not run
the distribution upgrade from within an X session.
In case the upgrade aborts during X.Org installation, you should check if any
files are still left in
/usr/X11R6/bin. You can then use
dpkg -S to find out which Debian package installed that file (if
any), and remove such packages with dpkg --remove. Please make a
note which packages you remove, so that you can install substitute packages
later on. Before continuing with the upgrade, all files in
/usr/X11R6/bin need to be removed.
for more details and other issues.
If you experience problems with X.Org after restarting, it might be also worth
to restart the font server by running /etc/init.d/xfs restart.
This happens due to
/etc/X11/fs/xfs.options containing a line with
no-restart-on-upgrade, but the font paths have changed.
After the upgrade to the X.Org and the latest libraries, X terminals which can
only represent colors 8 bits depth will not work. This is because the Cairo 2D
vector graphics library (
libcairo2) doesn't have 8-bit pseudocolor
support. This library is used by the GNOME and Xfce desktops as well as by
many desktop applications compiled with the Gtk2+ toolkit, such as
Known systems that are affected by this include some Sun machines and X terminals from Tektronix, NCD, IBM and SGI, as well as some other remote X windowing systems. You should configure these terminals to use 16-bit colour, if possible.
More information is available in Freedesktop's
One of the packages that has been obsoleted by the etch release is the Mail
Transfer Agent (MTA)
exim, which has been replaced by the
completely new package
exim (version 3.xx) has been unmaintained upstream for years, and
Debian has dropped support for that version as well. If you are still using
exim 3.xx, please upgrade your
exim installation to
exim4 manually. Since
exim4 is already part of
sarge, you can choose to do the upgrade on your sarge system before the upgrade
to etch, or after the etch upgrade at your convenience. Just remember that
exim package is not going to be upgraded and that it
won't get security support after support for sarge has been discontinued.
Note that, depending on your configuration of
debconf, you may not
be asked any configuration question during installation of
If no questions are asked, the system will default to a 'local delivery' setup.
Configuration is possible using the command dpkg-reconfigure
exim4 packages in Debian are extensively documented. The
package's home page is
on the Debian Wiki, and the README file can be found at
and inside the packages as well.
The README file has a chapter about Packaging, which explains the different
package variations we offer, and it has a chapter about Updating from
Exim 3, which will help you in doing the actual transition.
Apache has been upgraded to the new version 2.2. Although this shouldn't impact the average user, there are some potential issues to be aware of.
contains the upstream changes. Please read this page, and remember that
all modules need to be recompiled
authorization modules have been resorted and renamed
some configuration options have been renamed
Debian-specific changes include that the string SSL is no longer defined, as ssl is now supported by the default package.
If you are using the experimental ITK MPM (from the
apache2-mpm-itk package), the cgi module will not be correctly
enabled by default. To properly enable it, you will need to manually disable
mod_cgid and enable mod_cgi:
# cd /etc/apache2/mods-enabled # rm cgid.conf cgid.load # ln -s ../mods-available/cgi.load . # /etc/init.d/apache2 force-reload
Zope and all related products have been updated. Many products were also dropped from the distribution (either because they were obsoleted, or because they are incompatible with the newer Zope, CMF or Plone).
Unfortunately there is no easy and guaranteed way to upgrade a complex
plone server. Even though Plone includes a
migration tool, experience has shown that automatic migrations can easily fail.
For this reason, users are recommended to set up their system so they can continue to run the sarge installation of Zope/Plone alongside the new etch versions while testing the migration.
The easiest and safest way to achieve this, is to make a copy of your sarge
system to another hard disk or partition, and then upgrade only one of the two
copies. You can then use
chroot to run the sarge version in
parallel to the etch version.
It is not possible to have the old and new versions of Zope/Plone installed
together on an etch system, partly because the old packages depend on
python2.3 which cannot be installed together with
Previous versions of GNU
tar assumed shell-style globbing when
extracting files from or listing an archive. For example:
tar xf foo.tar '*.c'
would extract all files whose names end in '.c'. This behavior was not
documented and was incompatible with traditional
implementations. Therefore, starting from version 1.15.91, GNU
tar no longer uses globbing by default. For example, the above
invocation is now interpreted as a request to extract from the archive the file
/usr/share/doc/tar/NEWS.gz for further information.
The version of
ypbind included with
nis for etch
contains support for Network Manager. This support causes
to disable NIS client functionality when Network Manager reports that the
computer is disconnected from the network. Since Network Manager will usually
report that the computer is disconnected when it is not in use, NIS users with
NIS client systems should ensure that Network Manager support is disabled on
This can be done by either uninstalling the
package, or editing
/etc/default/nis to add -no-dbus
The use of -no-dbus is the default for new installs of Debian, but was not the default in previous releases.
For many years, turning on the register_globals settings in PHP has been known to be insecure and dangerous, and this option has defaulted to off for some time now. This configuration is now finally deprecated on Debian systems as too dangerous. The same applies to flaws in safe_mode and open_basedir, which have also been unmaintained for some time.
Starting with this release, the Debian security team does not provide security support for a number of PHP configurations which are known to be insecure. Most importantly, issues resulting from register_globals being turned on will no longer be addressed.
If you run legacy applications that require register_globals,
enable it for the respective paths only, e.g. through the Apache configuration
file. More information is available in the
file in the PHP documentation directory (
The Mozilla programs
(rebranded in Debian to
respectively), are important tools for many users. Unfortunately the upstream
security policy is to urge users to update to new upstream versions, which
conflicts with Debian's policy of not shipping large functional changes in
security updates. We cannot predict it today, but during the lifetime of etch
the Debian Security Team may come to a point where supporting Mozilla products
is no longer feasible and announce the end of security support for Mozilla
products. You should take this into account when deploying Mozilla and
consider alternatives available in Debian if the absence of security support
would pose a problem for you.
KDE media handling has changed in the version available in etch from using
media:/. Some user configuration files
might have stored
device:/ links in them which should be adapted.
contains this reference and can be safely deleted as it will not be created
when setting up new users.
There have been many changes in the KDE desktop environment from the version
shipped in sarge to the version in etch, you can find more information in the
If you used the GNOME desktop in sarge you will not benefit from some of the changes introduced in the default configuration in Debian for etch. In some extreme cases the GNOME desktop might not properly handle your old configuration and might not behave properly.
If you have not heavily invested in configuring your GNOME desktop you might
want to move the
.gconf directory in user's home directories to a
different name (such as
.gconf.old) so that it gets recreated,
with the default configuration for etch, upon starting a new session.
With the release of etch, Debian no longer contains packages for most of the obsolete version 1 release of GNOME, although some packages remain in order to support some Debian packages which have not yet been updated to GNOME 2. Packages for GTK1.2 remain fully maintained.
There have been many changes in the GNOME desktop environment from the version
shipped in sarge to the version in etch, you can find more information in the
GNOME 2.14 Release
If you were using
vim as your default editor, this may be changed
nano during the upgrade.
Administrators who wish to change the default editor for all users will have to update the alternatives system using:
# update-alternatives --config editor
Users wishing to change the default editor can define the environment variable EDITOR by introducing the following lines in their own profiles:
EDITOR=vi export EDITOR alias editor=$EDITOR
/etc/motd is now a symlink to
/var/run/motd which is
/etc/init.d/bootmisc.sh from a template,
/etc/motd.tail, at each reboot. It means that changes made to
/etc/motd will be lost. Changes made into
/etc/motd.tail are not automatically applied to
/etc/motd other than at reboot.
Also, the EDITMOTD variable at
/etc/default/rcS no longer has any
effect. If you wish to disable updating of the motd, or want to maintain your
own content for the message of the day you just have to point the
/etc/motd symlink to a different file such as
/etc/motd.static and make your changes there.
Emacs21 and emacs21-nox are not configured to use Unicode by default. For more
information and a workaround please see
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Release Notes for Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 ("etch"), S/390$Id: release-notes.en.sgml,v 1.312 2007-08-16 22:24:38 jseidel Exp $