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tardy sarge to etch upgrade proceedure


I, ahem, need to upgrade oldstable to stable, but I cannot update my
current oldstable system, no longer supported as it is.  How important is 
it to do that before upgrading?

I have not used aptitude on this system before.  How important is that?

It would be nice to run the upgrade through the screen program.  Is it
possible to apt-get install screen after apt-get update with etch
sources but before running upgrade?

Finally, in order to patch a hardware driver, the kernel is custom
compiled.  That means the kernel will not be upgraded, but that new
sources will be downloaded.  Right?

Any pointers to post-support documentation or mail-list threads would be

Thank you.


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