Image of the glider from the Game of Life by John Conway
Skip to content

Aptitude Full-Upgrade Versus Safe-Upgrade

I've been running Debian Sid on my new Lenovo Thinkpad T61 that I received about a month ago. It's been rock solid. However, lately, aptitude update has been keeping a lot of packages back, namely and Curious why, I visited #debian, only to be told to upgrade and RTFM. Nice. So, I upgraded, then set out on my own to find the adequate and appropriate help I was seeking. Surprise, I found several answers on Here's the low down on what I've discovered:

  • aptitude safe-upgrade will not upgrade packages if:
    • relied dependencies have not been updated to the required version.
    • installing the upgrade means removing dependencies that other packages need.
  • aptitude full-upgrade will update packages unless:
    • the upgrade removes dependencies that other packages need

In my case, and both relied on newer package versions that had not come down the pipe yet, so they were held back. Unfortunately, I made the hasty upgrade, at the request of #debian, before receiving this information. Now, X is extremely unstable. It crashes intermittently, completely unpredicted. So far, I have yet to find what the cause is.

So, here's my advice: when using aptitude to update/upgrade your system, be conservative, and use 'aptitude safe-upgrade' unless you're adventurous and willing to debug unstable systems.

{ 20 } Comments