For the past few days, I couldn't update our apt-sources on Debian 5.0 (lenny). I get the following errors.

W: Failed to fetch http://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/lenny/main/binary-amd64/Packages  404 Not Found [IP: 80]

W: Failed to fetch http://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/lenny/contrib/binary-amd64/Packages  404 Not Found [IP: 80]

W: Failed to fetch http://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/lenny/non-free/binary-amd64/Packages  404 Not Found [IP: 80]

W: Failed to fetch http://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/lenny/main/source/Sources  404 Not Found [IP: 80]

W: Failed to fetch http://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/lenny/contrib/source/Sources  404 Not Found [IP: 80]

W: Failed to fetch http://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/lenny/non-free/source/Sources  404 Not Found [IP: 80]

How do I fix this problem?


My current sources are:

# Debian Lenny
deb http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ lenny main non-free contrib  
deb-src http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ lenny main non-free contrib  

# Debian Lenny Non-US
deb http://non-us.debian.org/debian-non-US lenny/non-US main contrib non-free  
deb-src http://non-us.debian.org/debian-non-US lenny/non-US main contrib non-free

# Debian Lenny Security
deb http://security.debian.org/ lenny/updates main contrib non-free
  • Can you post your entrys in your /etc/apt/sources.list? Mar 26, 2012 at 7:18
  • please see edit!
    – trnc
    Mar 26, 2012 at 7:24
  • Yes ;) thx but i think the Answer from @thiton is the problem. Mar 26, 2012 at 7:24

4 Answers 4


lenny is superseded by squeeze, and its lifecycle ended on Feb. 6th this year. You'll get no updates from the core Debian community for lenny.


  1. Upgrade to squeeze.
  2. Stay with lenny, remove the Debian FTP servers from sources.list and keep the packages as they are. There will be no security updates.
  3. Pin (man apt_preferences) necessary packages down to lenny and perform a partial upgrade, or pin all packages down to lenny and perform upgrades as needed. Leaves you with a partial system, and you are likely to get all kinds of errors, but might be necessary if neither upgrade nor keep-as-is are options.
  • Exactly! Time to upgrade :)
    – adamo
    Mar 26, 2012 at 7:20
  • 1
    i can't upgrade atm, because there's a raid driver which is incompatible to squeeze...
    – trnc
    Mar 26, 2012 at 7:24
  • 2
    @Tronic: Then you'll have to live without a security team, which can be OK for backend servers. You can drop the updating cron job now and remove most lines from sources.list. If the maintainers of squeeze are not aware of the incompatible RAID driver, file a bug report.
    – thiton
    Mar 26, 2012 at 7:26
  • i just need to install postfix... so should i just use the proper .deb package for installation?
    – trnc
    Mar 26, 2012 at 7:44
  • 3
    @Tronic: Use pinning (man apt_preferences) to pin the packages you need from lenny, or to pin the whole system to lenny and install postfix selectively from squeeze. It would be unwise to keep a huge and internet-facing package like postfix without security support.
    – thiton
    Mar 26, 2012 at 7:50

You can use the following sources until you upgrade your system:

deb http://archive.debian.org/debian/ lenny contrib main non-free

archive.debian.org has the package repositories of all EOLd debian releases


How can you download needed source packages if even list of packages in file http://archive.debian.org/debian_dists/Debian-5.0/main/source/Sources.gz is incomplete. You need all full extensions for needed source package so: _.diff.gz , _.dsc , _*.orig.tar.gz

But for farse exist extensions _.debian.tar.gz , _.tar.gz (without orig) and some packages are completely removed from http://archive.debian.org/debian/pool so no strange that apt or any other package manager can't download them. So even manually you can't download them because no repository or mirror with complete packages for old version of Debian.

You can try to write to autorities responsible for these "ideas" not only in Debian , Ubuntu but in whole Linux, or try to find old CD / DVD or computer and extract needed packages from them.

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