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I have a home server running Debian Etch with MySQL 5.0.32 on it. I'm not much of a Linux administrator but two years ago I installed the server and it runs fine. I used the official MySQL package for Debian at that time.

Since then I have been happily making use of it. Now I need to use a MySQL function that is only available in MySQL 5.1.20 and higher. Therefore I would like to upgrade.

I'm not that confident in messing with something I need every day so I wanted to check with you what the best upgrade path would be? Obviously I prefer a simple upgrade that keeps my database, users and settings in place as they are now.

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You can use the dotdeb.org repositories, specifically the archive.dotdeb.org one. I'm not sure what the policy on keeping those upgraded against security issues is though, so that would be worth checking.

It's been a while since I've used pure Debian, but there are the Backports repositories. Do these not have a new enough version of MySQL?

You probably do want to be upgrading to Lenny at some point soon. The last time I upgraded a Debian machine it went ok, though did involve some downtime whilst fixing breakages. It might be worth doing the upgrades on a spare machine and then swapping out hardware.

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+1 for taking time to move to Lenny, instead of fighting with apt-pinning –  cpbills Jun 2 '10 at 18:01
    
I guess moving to Lenny would be a good thing. However, you say it went ok, yet you had to fix breakages. How is that ok and what kind of breakages can be expected? I'm using Etch for File sharing, PHP, MySQL and Apache. –  Ferdy Jun 2 '10 at 22:08

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