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Re: questions about upgrading to glibc-2.2 and xfree86-4.0

On 19 Feb 2001, ian wrote:

> Most of the packages in Debian-2.2 seem to reflect source code that
> was current about a year ago. Many newer packages require glibc-2.2
> and xfree86-4.0 (or at least its client libraries). My apologies if
> the answers to these questions can be found in some place that should
> have been obvious to me, but wasn't.

No need to apologise...upgrading is always something to be cautious about

> Firstly, it appears to me that many packages in the pool/ directories
> are not referenced in the dists/{stable,testing}/ archives, and
> dists/unstable/main/binary-alpha is completely unpopulated. What is
> the significance of this fact? I thought that
> dists/{{un,}stable,testing}/ was supposed to become a bunch of
> symlinks referencing the actual pool/ archive.

Yes and no.  "unstable" is merely a collection of Contents files that
reference packages in the pool directory.  Symlinks aren't really
necessary and would really convolute things more if they were there.
Using "unstable" does work, though, from an apt point of view.  I've
upgraded several machines already to unstable with no archive-related

> With regard to glibc, I seem to recall that glibc-2.1 was
> binary-incompatible with glibc-2.0, at least on alpha, and that you
> had to upgrade the whole system at once or risk major breakage; I
> never understood exactly what the issue was. Is this also the case
> with installing glibc-2.2, or is this a more transparent upgrade?  If
> so, do its associated libraries (for hostname resolution or whatever)
> need to be upgraded at the same time?

Glibc 2.1 binaries will run on glibc 2.2 (I've yet to find one that
doesn't, although some needed to be recompiled due to changes in the NSS
code...most were intrinsic to glibc, but a few were base packages).  Glibc
2.2 binaries, however, may or may not be downward compatible.

> Finally, is it safe to upgrade the client-side part of xfree86 to
> 4.0.x, while leaving the server at version 3.3.6? What are the
> packages involved, and is there any particular procedure that needs to
> be followed because of the major restructuring of xfree86 between
> these releases?

Ugh...well, upgrading to unstable will upgrade your X libs to 4.0.x
versions, but the 3.3.6 X server binaries are compiled against that, so
it's a "mixed bag" at that point.  Some of the server binaries from 3.3.6
are now gone, having been replaced by the new 4.0.x modularised X server,
but that depends on what hardware you have.

> I want to upgrade packages like spruce and xfig, because the versions
> in Debian-2.2 appear to be buggy, and the newer packages all seem to
> have dependencies on more recent dynamic libraries. (Is this for real,
> or just an artifact of the build process?) Thanks for any information
> on these issues.

It's for real.  It's really up to you as to whether or not you want to
upgrade.  You could always try rebuilding the packages from the unstable
source on a potato system, if you want to avoid the rest of the headaches
of upgrading (things sometimes just don't work correctly on
"unstable"...hence our recent net-tools problem that's now passed).


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