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yesterday I "inherited" an ancient debian 3.1 machine to which I am supposed to add a few functionalities (mail, among them)

is there a safe way to upgrade it to a superior version ? if not, is there a repository for its debs ?

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Sarge is no longer receiving security updates. There are security issues that will not have been patched on sarge. If the machine is available on the Internet, you should strongly consider to upgrading to at least etch, and preferably lenny. If it isn't obvious make a backup first.

You should be able to upgrade, but not directly. You'll need to go from sarge->etch->lenny. Since it is remote you'll want to make sure they hardware will be supported in the newer OS.

You can use this in your /etc/apt/sources.list if you really want to continue to use sarge for right now.

deb http://archive.debian.org/debian/ sarge main
deb-src http://archive.debian.org/debian/ sarge main
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most probably I'll use the repositories you listed above and use the machine as it is, with a strict-to-paranoid firewall; it is good that I don't need to compile from sources the few apps I have to install thanks –  petre Sep 23 '09 at 21:45
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There are some "archive" servers. You could of course dist-upgrade it to etch, then dist-upgrade etch to lenny, but it's a bit of a stretch. You'd better make a list of installed packages with

dpkg --get-selection > packlist

saving /etc and other data files, then install a new lenny and reinstall additional packages with

dpkg --set-selection && aptitude dselect-upgrade
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Depending on the number of applications installed, going Sarge -> Etch -> Lenny may be the best option. Some applications had quite a few changes between Sarge and Etch, and again through Etch / Lenny. –  Ryaner Sep 23 '09 at 20:26
    
the machine is remote, quite far away and I would like to do it all via ssh (laziness is a killer, I know) and for the time being reinstalling is out of the question maybe sarge - etch - lenny is the way, maybe I'll simulate it on a vmachine and keep you informed, if nobody has a firm answer meanwhile, I'm trying to find those archive servers –  petre Sep 23 '09 at 20:40
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