[conspire] Impressions of an upgrade from Sarge to Etch stable

Edmund J. Biow biow at sbcglobal.net
Fri Apr 27 17:42:18 PDT 2007

> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 11:22:59 -0700
> From: Eric De Mund <ead-conspire at ixian.com>
> Subject: [conspire] [more] sound under Debian 4.0r0 on IBM Thinkpad
> 	600?
> To: conspire at linuxmafia.com
> Message-ID: <17970.16259.790845.662795 at bear.he.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> Gents, Ladies,
> ] Now that I've upgraded from 3.1r4 to 4.0r0 with "apt-get install dist-
> ] upgrade", and then, later, with a fresh install, sound is no longer
> ] working again, and, try as I might, I cannot get it to work.
Something seems astray with Etch's handling of onboard sound using Via 
snd_via82xx.  I get clicks and noise on my server, both with Etch stable 
and a little 3.2 GB install of XFCE Etch testing that I made for 
administrative tasks (in this case, repartitioning & cloning my hard 
drive).  I noticed the same thing (though not as bad) on my Etch-based 
Dreamlinux box.  Mostly, I just mute sound or turn off the speakers, but 
yesterday I had them on, figuring clicky, crummy music was better than 
listening to the annoying voices in my head, and I was getting sound 
loops from GAIM effects (its nice to have sound with an IM client to get 
my attention when someone 'talks' to me).  I guess I could try compiling 
my own kernel or something, but first I'll just swap in a Creative 
Soundblaster Live card I have lying around when I get a chance.

I also upgraded my Sarge Asus Terminator "server" to Etch about a week 
after it went stable and I have to say, if wasn't quite as zipperless an 
experience as I'd hoped.  First of all, it took a very long time.  Plus, 
a fair amount of user intervention was required, queries about which 
files to replace, etc., so you could not just set up the install and 
walk away.  It would be great if the installer could figure out how to 
ask all the questions at the beginning of the process so you could just 
let the installation run overnight.

  Its been a couple of weeks now so I've forgotten a lot of the pain.  
Here are some of the problems I encountered:

1. Lots of stuff was uninstalled, to be expected after a couple of years 
of cruft and me adding practically every Recommended & Suggested package 
every time I did an 'apt-get install".  I reinstalled a few things, 
installed a lot of other packages, and added the debian-multimedia 
repository back to my sources list, and got other things going.  No biggey.

2. No widgets on my KDE windows, those little minimize-maximize-close 
buttons.  I don't think I had ever changed the default theme, so that 
was weird.  I eventually got them back by playing around with KDE 
Control Center. 

3. Some of my servers weren't working, I had to futz around with 
smb.conf & proftpd.conf, and most annoyingly, my index page on my local 
web site was replaced with one that simply said:

It Works!

Luckily, just before I upgraded I'd cloned my system on to a new hard 
drive, so I had my old index.html back on the original drive (which 
several times I was tempted to reinsert). 

BTW, rsync worked well for cloning, though it took forever.  And my 
music collection wasn't even on that drive!  And my original effort to 
clone the drive using 'dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb' worked fine with the 
first 2 partitions a successfully transferred GRUB over, so I didn't 
have to chroot.  I wanted to use the rest of my new drive and expand my 
'/' partition, so I just zapped the last two partitions and used fdisk 
and mkfs.ext3 to set up bigger ones, then rsynced.

4.  The transition from 2.4 to 2.6 was a pain, as I dreaded it might be, 
even though I assiduously followed the upgrade instructions from the 
release notes, including the script to keep track of changes (see 
and did everything from a command prompt at init 3, my system was still 
somewhat borked initially.  I had to boot to my old kernel and the 
system complained about conflicts with UDEV, etc.  The fault was mostly 
mine, since I wrongly assumed that my powerhouse Via C3 Samuel CPU would 
work with a i686 kernel without investigating it too much.  All was fine 
when I went with a i386 flavor.

5. I got a couple of freeze ups with my scratch 3.2 GB Testing install & 
one using my old kernel on my server.  Since I upgraded to the 2.6 
kernel things have been happier.
 ed at term:~$ uptime
 16:08:22 up 4 days,  5:23,  2 users,  load average: 1.48, 1.30, 1.35

6. Assorted weird little glitches.  My konsole doesn't remember changes 
I make to my Default Profile from one boot to another (font size, set 
History to unlimited). 

Initially when I was having a lot of problems I was considering just 
installing a nice fresh copy of CentOS 5.0 on another partition.  I may 
still do that, just because I like playing around with different 
distros, plus Centos 5.0 will probably be supported until 2014.  Let's 
see how the new sound card goes.

I'm confident most of this Etch stuff will sort itself out over the next 
year or so and I'll submit bug reports when I get around to it.  April 
is the cruelest month, lots of new toys to play with, but lots of 
upgrades to do as older distributions become unsupported, so I've been 
busy upgrading other boxes as well, Mandriva 2006 to 2007.1, Kubuntu 
Breezy to Feisty.  Each one seems to generate its share of glitches and 
takes a while to straighten out.

I'm just not smart enough for all of this.  Even though I'm just a 
hobbyist, I should really standardize on a single distro so I can learn 
it better and make more of a contribution, but Etch no longer seems like 
a great candidate for this to me.  At least, standardize on one branch 
of Linux (Debianesque, for instance, Stable, Ubuntu, Sid, Dreamlinux, 
DSL for various purposes).  Gosh, I think, but I'd miss Opensuse, which 
has been on a rock on my laptop.  And Mandriva is a VERY pleasant, 
underrated desktop OS when things are going well, to say nothing of 
PCLinuxOS (which I've installed on others' boxes several times).  Plus, 
I'd miss the lefty political ethos over at BlagLinux, though I think I 
could go on without Fedora, not that it doesn't have its charms.  Much 
as I've enjoyed Slackware and its derivatives over the years 
(Vectorlinux, in my case), I could give up them cold turkey.  The lack 
of great package management and long term support makes Slack less 
appealing.  And I've never played around much with Gentoo/Sabayon, etc., 
except to spin the live releases, I think I'll continue to shun them.  
But pacman is supposed to be nice, so I'll probably break down and blow 
Arch on a box some day, even though that way lies madness.

Next Spring I think I'm going to try backing up settings and doing fresh 
installs.  It will probably save some time.


More information about the conspire mailing list