2012-06-04

Squeeze to Sid- Avoiding Dependency Issues


Having committed to the Google ecosystem for many computing needs, I am free to put whatever OS I want on my personal laptop. I'm a serious Debian fan from way back, so I thought I'd give the unstable branch of that distribution a try. However, the testing version of the Debian GNU/Linux system is currently in the midst of some big changes... GCC and libc6 are both under the knife for wheezy and sid.

If you do the normal procedure for installing then moving to unstable, you'll have a mess of dependencies waiting to thwart your triumphant booting of GNOME 3. Here's the short version of how I got beyond the issues and got a Debian sid install working.

The Problem: All the applications that use libc6 won't work after you update this critical library.

My Solution: These are the steps I followed to fix this issue:

1- The initial install should NOT include the Desktop Environment! (Just install the console-mode OS - we'll fix this later!)
2- Once that's finished, edit your /etc/apt/sources.list file to read like this:

deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian unstable main contrib
deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian unstable main contrib

(You can choose another mirror, if there's something closer to your locale.)

3- Run the command:
# apt-get update

4- This step will fix the installer and the dependencies for getting over the libc6 / gcc hump:
# apt-get install apt

5- This will finish updating your OS to sid:
# apt-get dist-upgrade

6- Once this is done, I installed my precious GNOME 3 and a few extras:
# apt-get install gnome gnome-shell synaptic libreoffice

7- reboot into your GNOME 3 system. (GNOME 2 is available at the Login screen under the gear icon, should you want that.)
# reboot

After this, there was a stall when X Windows fired up the first time. I think it was making a stab at writing a config file. If it doesn't give you a desktop in about a minute, force-reboot using your PC's power switch. (That's what I did - there's nothing on your shiny new machine for you to backup anyway.)

Hope this helps!