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sarge->etch upgrade hits dependency hell

After failing to reconstitute my etch system (details abundantly 
available on this mailing list a few months ago), I wiped its partition 
and tried to install etch form scratch using installer release candidate 
one, only to find that lilo crashed when it was trying to make the 
system bootable (installation report has been submitted).

So my next attempt was to copy the still-running sarge system I have on 
another partition into my etch partition, and to try to upgrade the copy 
to etch by changing /etc/apt/sources to read 'etch' where the old one 
reads 'sarge', starting aptitude, and upgrading.

My first attempt was to try to upgrade aptitude first.  No luck.  
Trying to upgrading aptitude immediately led to hundreds of packages 
that would be deleted.  My guess is they were caught in the libc 

My second attampt was to try 'U' so as to do a general upgrade.  Again, 
huge numbers of deleted packages, and a huge number of packages to be 
installed, too.  Went ahead with it anyway, after rescuing aptitude 
itself -- it had decided it was appropriate to delete aptitude without 
installing it again.  But just typing '+' on aptitude was enough to 
restore it without problem, so I don't know why it decided it was to be 
removed in the first place.

After about three to four hours of downloading, it started the upgrades.  
Several problems immediately.  It couldn't upgrade fontconfig or pysol, 
and refused to try further.  pysol needed python2.4, don't know why it 
decided to do that first.  fontconfig is now unusable, which causes 
troubles elsewhere.

After various attempts to solve the problems, I am left with a huge 
number of packages to be deleted/upgraded/installed, and X that won't 
work, and a list of 18 packages that have problems.

Should I try again tomorrow in the hope that package dependencies will 
sort themselves out?  Or should I just give up and try another way of 
installing tomorrow?  Can't think of one now, but one will probably come 
to me it I think hard enough.

-- hendrik

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