Debian distro upgrade to Etch

A few days ago I upgraded my personal Debian server in the office from Sarge to Etch, considering that it’s only approximately two weeks until Etch will be officially released, and I wanted to be prepared for what’s to come when I upgrade other (important!) boxes to Etch.

As always I was amazed about how smoothly the upgrade went. I used

apt-get dist-upgrade

to upgrade the box. APT downloaded about 300 packages, if I remember correctly. In the configuration phase that occurred afterwards, it asked me the usual couple of questions about some of the packages in case the existing configuration files didn’t contain all the necessary settings, or in case I had changed config files for which a new version is available in Etch.

The only package that was “broken” after the upgrade was Apache. It turned out that the mod_auth_digest guys renamed the AuthDigestFile directive to AuthUserFile in Apache 2.2, so upon restart Apache found a directive it didn’t know about and bailed out.

Smart move, guys!!!

If I were you I would have issued a warning like the following:

AuthDigestFile is now deprecated. Please us AuthUserFile instead, because AuthDigestFile will eventually disappear in one of the forthcoming versions of mod_auth_digest.

Always be defensive if you rename options so as not to break existing configuration files or scripts!

Anyway, after I corrected the above, Apache ran smoothly again, as did all the web apps that I have installed on this box.

I’m impressed, guys, and I have no fear of upgrading existing production machines. OTOH I didn’t expect anything else. 🙂 I’m a Debian user since 2.0, if I remember correctly, and I’ve yet to experience the first disastrous upgrade. BTW, the whole upgrade took me less than two hours, and I even had a meeting in between. 🙂

So my friend Jochen doesn’t need to be concerned about the integrity of the server where I host his homepage, because after the closing of the Musikmesse he plans to attend he expects a lot of additional visitors to his website, and he was scared that the server might be offline for a longer-than-desirable time due to the upgrade. I’ve scheduled the upgrade now for April, 10th, so be prepared for another (hopefully) success story then.

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