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Re: rolling-back, reverting system upgrades?

On Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 10:43:53AM +0000, Liviu Andronic wrote:
> Dear all
> How would I roll back system upgrades? 

As I understnad it, generally speaking you don't. You *can* if you use
dpkg directly and still have the .deb files from the previous version
of a package lying around (/var/cache/apt/archives/). 

> I am using Debian testing and
> after I hit "Reload package info" in Synaptic, it will download the
> package versions that are current in the testing tree, and will
> completely forget the old tree (which after the update will be dubbed
> as "now"). If I perform an upgrade of a package, say a critical one,
> fglrx (video card) or broadcom (wifi), and the new version comes with
> an incompatibility that breaks my system, I currently see no way to
> revert to the old ("now") tree, the old versions where the packages
> worked just fine.
> In other words, if you update the package info and upgrade some
> packages that come with breakages, you're doomed to start hunting for
> a fix (in my case, this morning, without X and without internet).

This is the purpose of the testing distribution, to test packages for
breakage so that bugs don't migrate into stable with the next
release. With all due respect, if you aren't prepared to deal with
occaisional breakage, then you should be running testing.

> In the old times with Gentoo, breakages occurred more often than
> needed, but it was quite easy to revert an upgrade: each
> tree---stable and testing---usually contained several, similar
> versions of the package (much closer than in Lenny and
> Squeeze). That meant that whenever something went wrong after a
> package upgrade, I simply reverted to a previous minor version, got
> on with my work and waited for a new version to pop up.

as I said above, you can often manually fix things using dpkg and the
old debs. Sometimes you'd have to force it. But to really make this
work, you have to keep careful tabs on what packages were upgraded and
cause the breakage. So far as I know there is no automated way of
doing this. 


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