Debian on T43p: Show Must Go On... (From Etch to Lenny)


last week I had nothing to do on Tuesday evening, so I decided to update my installation of Debian Linux from etch (Stable) to Lenny (Testing). Actually, I wanted to do it for quite long time: I knew that Lenny would bring a lot of new functions and improvements, so I did not think too long and replaced - quite bravely - the word "stable" with "testing". And here comes my story... :-)))

1. Updating kernel and GNOME (Wave 1).
My first step was to update kernel and GNOME. The update itself ran properly, but I made a mistake when selecting the kernel - I choose *-486 instead of *-686. As a result, I got only 885 MB of RAM (instead of 2 GB). I fixed it on the next day, what I describe later.

The installation/update of GNOME was easy and smooth. At the end I got the newest version of GNOME - with better appearance, better Bluetooth support, better applications. Simply better GNOME. :-)

2. Updating the rest (Wave 2)
When my kernel and GNOME were updated, I decided to update the rest. I simply went to Synaptic and selected "Mark all updates". In this way I got all the latest packages belonging to Lenny.

Having all updates installed, I checked most important functions (like WLAN, sleep mode, Bluetooth connection to the mouse) and went to bed.

3. Fighting with issues (Wave 3)
On the next day I decided to change my kernel. So, I selected the right *-686 version of the kernel and tried to install it. No way! I got an error message in Synaptic and new kernel was not installed. Better to say, it was physically installed, but no link was written into GRUB menu file. After searching for a long time I found out, that my Grub (as a software) become bug 501306 (http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=501306) and must be fixed. I corrected my device.map file by adding the following line there:

(hd0) /dev/sda

That fixed all issues with the installation of the new kernel and deinstallation of the old one.

In order to install the proprietary driver for the ATI card used in my laptop, I followed the instructions found on this page (http://wiki.cchtml.com/index.php/Ubuntu_Dapper_Installation_Guide). They are newer, then those I published last year for Etch.

In order to resolve the issue with cpufreq - it could not find the "ondemand" governor while booting - I installed "cpufrequtils" package.

4. Conclusion and feedback
In general I'm more than satisfied with both update (how it ran and worked) and with new version of Debian. The small issues (with GRUB and cpufreq) can be resolved rather quick and painless.

The only warning I want to give you is the download time. Synaptic needs something around 1.2 GB to download for all updates. Even with DSL (I have 16 Mbit/sec) it takes some time. Don't start such an update like "I do it while preparing for the bed"-action. It will take some your time and attention.

I hope, this short post is useful for others. As usually, any feedback is welcome.