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Goodbye Woody, Welcome Etch //at 10:54 //by abe

from the old-hardware-never-dies-it-just-gets-new-software dept.

It finally happened. I installed Debian Etch on my last Woody box, a 400 MHz Pentium II with 576 MB RAM named gsa which is my home desktop since I bought it at LinuxTag 2003 in Karlsruhe.

And no I didn’t do a dist-upgrade, neither direct no via Sarge. As already planned I removed some no more necessary operating systems from that box and installed Etch on the freed disk space. Woody is still installed on that box in parallel and was recognized perfectly by Etch’s installer.

I took a few hours but also was big fun to go through Etch package list and to decide what to install. Overall the installation of 5 GB of software took about half a day.

In general everything went fine, the only thing I’m yet missing is sound. Etch didn’t seem to recognize my soundcard at all although it’s a well-known brand and defacto standard for many other soundcards: a Creative Labs Soundblaster. Well, the 16-Bit ISA version, needing the full length of the slot. Worked fine under Woody. Well, I hope I’ll get it working again manually.

What on the other hand is really nice with udev hell —eh— hal and all those new automatic bells and whistles: The desktop (well, at least GNOME Nautilus as well as XFCE, but probably also KDE) recognises when I insert a 3.5” floppy into the drive and shows me a nice floppy icon on the desktop. You think, that’s impossible? Floppy drives don’t inform the rest of the system when a floppy has been inserted without you polling the drive every few seconds? Well, USB floppy drives can. And they do. :-)

I still need time to migrate all the old settings from Woody to Etch. I’ll probably stick with FVWM, but perhaps will use the GNOME enabled version. What’s already done is the migration from tcsh to zsh. On all new or dist-upgraded systems after Etch I’ve chosen zsh so with my last Woody installation retiring I’ve also fully migrated to zsh.

So I’ve got now most of my active private boxes running Etch. Only the noone.org web and mail server “sym” (an amd64 box) as well as my 133 MHz ThinkPad “bijou” are still running Sarge, both with 2.6 kernels.

So with switching to Etch on gsa, I also got no more Debian box running a 2.4 kernel. The only 2.4 kernel I run is on my FreeWRT WLAN router named pluriel, which runs But I expect that 2.6.18 will be as stable and long lasting as the famous and rock-solid 2.4.18 from Woody. 18 seems to be Debian’s favourite kernel minor version recently. ;-)

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Hackergotchi of Axel Beckert


Debian GNU/Linux is my favourite Linux distribution, being stable, flexible, consistent and having a great community. Although I'm not the biggest bug report writer, I try to contribute by staffing the Debian booth at events, carrying the necessary hardware there or even organising the whole booth.

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