Appendix A. Managing your stretch system before the upgrade

Table of Contents

A.1. Upgrading your stretch system
A.2. Checking your APT source-list files
A.3. Removing obsolete configuration files
A.4. Upgrade legacy locales to UTF-8

This appendix contains information on how to make sure you can install or upgrade stretch packages before you upgrade to buster. This should only be necessary in specific situations.

A.1. Upgrading your stretch system

Basically this is no different from any other upgrade of stretch you've been doing. The only difference is that you first need to make sure your package list still contains references to stretch as explained in Section A.2, “Checking your APT source-list files”.

If you upgrade your system using a Debian mirror, it will automatically be upgraded to the latest stretch point release.

A.2. Checking your APT source-list files

If any of the lines in your APT source-list files (see sources.list(5)) contain references to stable, this is effectively pointing to buster already. This might not be what you want if you are not yet ready for the upgrade. If you have already run apt update, you can still get back without problems by following the procedure below.

If you have also already installed packages from buster, there probably is not much point in installing packages from stretch anymore. In that case you will have to decide for yourself whether you want to continue or not. It is possible to downgrade packages, but that is not covered here.

As root, open the relevant APT source-list file (such as /etc/apt/sources.list) with your favorite editor, and check all lines beginning with deb http:, deb https:, deb tor+http:, deb tor+https:, URIs: http:, URIs: https:, URIs: tor+http: or URIs: tor+https: for a reference to stable. If you find any, change stable to stretch.

If you have any lines starting with deb file: or URIs: file:, you will have to check for yourself if the location they refer to contains a stretch or buster archive.


Do not change any lines that begin with deb cdrom: or URIs: cdrom:. Doing so would invalidate the line and you would have to run apt-cdrom again. Do not be alarmed if a cdrom: source line refers to unstable. Although confusing, this is normal.

If you've made any changes, save the file and execute

# apt update

to refresh the package list.

A.3. Removing obsolete configuration files

Before upgrading your system to buster, it is recommended to remove old configuration files (such as *.dpkg-{new,old} files under /etc) from the system.

A.4. Upgrade legacy locales to UTF-8

Using a legacy non-UTF-8 locale has been unsupported by desktops and other mainstream software projects for a long time. Such locales should be upgraded by running dpkg-reconfigure locales and selecting a UTF-8 default. You should also ensure that users are not overriding the default to use a legacy locale in their environment.