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#1 2016-12-02 16:36:39

Registered: 2016-12-01
Posts: 56  

Devuan migration how to

Since much has changed in Devuan and improved since first posting, this guide has been completely revamped and updated to the latest information. This will take you through what is necessary to migrate to Devuan Jessie. The latest information about migration to the ASCII branch can be found here.

Migrate to Devuan Jessie

This document describes how to migrate to Devuan Jessie from Debian.

Performing the migration

We need to edit the mirrors list so we can set the Devuan repository as the source for packages.

root@debian:~# editor /etc/apt/sources.list

Change your mirrors to the Devuan mirror, commenting out the previous Debian mirrors.

deb jessie main
deb jessie-updates main
deb jessie-security main
deb jessie-backports main

Before we can fetch packages from the Devuan repository we need to update the package index files.

root@debian:~# apt-get update

The Devuan keyring is required to authenticate packages.

root@debian:~# apt-get install devuan-keyring --allow-unauthenticated

Now that the Devuan keyring is installed you should update the indexes again so that packages are authenticated from now on.

root@debian:~# apt-get update

We can now migrate to Devuan. Choose slim as the default display manager if prompted.

root@debian:~# apt-get dist-upgrade

In order to remove systemd as pid1 a one time reboot is required.

root@devuan:~# reboot

Post migration tasks

If you were using GNOME under Debian before migration I recommend changing the session manager to startxfce4.

root@devuan:~# update-alternatives --config x-session-manager

systemd components should now be removed from the system.

root@devuan:~# apt-get purge systemd systemd-shim

If you are not using D-Bus you might be able to remove libsystemd0.

root@devuan:~# apt-get purge libsystemd0

Purge any orphaned packages left over from your previous Debian install.

root@devuan:~# apt-get autoremove --purge

This is a good time to clean out old package archives left over from your Debian system.

root@devuan:~# apt-get autoclean

This work is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International CC BY-SA 4.0 license. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. This work is provided "AS IS" and comes with absolutely NO warranty.

Last edited by chillfan (2018-02-17 13:28:20)


#2 2017-04-15 02:57:41

Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 2,282  

Re: Devuan migration how to

Additional information as well as translations from dev1fanboy's (aka chillfan) wiki can now be found at


#3 2017-06-03 21:00:12

Registered: 2017-02-04
Posts: 143  

Re: Devuan migration how to

chillfan wrote:

This guide will take you through what is required to upgrade to Devuan. Many of you may be familiar with this already, the only changes here are formatting changes to make it more suitable for posting here.

So, where can the original document be found? I'm asking this, so I can link to it on the Howto page of the Devuan documentation outline I've put together at … n_doc:root.

chillfan wrote:

At time of writing Devuan Jessie has not yet been announced stable, nonetheless it is in a very usable state and it is possible to upgrade now as if it was simply the next release of Debian.

This should be updated (as well as the list of supported architectures?).

chillfan wrote:

First you will need to gain root access at a terminal. Enter your user password when asked.

user@debian:~$ sudo -s

This implies sudo being installed which will not necessarily be the case (I don't have it.). I assume, sudo -s is equivalent to su anyway, so it's probably better to use that.

++ UPDATE ++

golinux pointed me to the source on gitlab. I've now copied that into the wiki and begun to make adjustments: … rom_debian

Last edited by msi (2017-06-03 23:34:02)


#4 2017-06-30 02:38:01

Registered: 2017-06-30
Posts: 13  

Re: Devuan migration how to


Its not as easy as it seems to migrate from Ubuntu 14.04 to Devuan Jessie.

I followed these steps and got stuck at the step:

root@devuan:~# apt-get install xfce4

when the libstdc++6 and gcc version was stuck on Ubuntu and wouldn't upgrade.

Depends: libstdc++6 (>= 4.9) but 4.8.4-2ubuntu1~14.04.3 is to be installed

So I mounted the install CD, updated sources with apt-cdrom, located the libstdc++6 debs and used dpkg to force the upgrade.

 sudo dpkg --force-depends -r gcc:amd64 gcc-4.8:amd64 gcc-4.8-base:amd64 gcc-4.9-base:i386 lib32gcc1:amd64 libgcc-4.8-dev libgcc1:i386

Did a few cycles of

# apt-get -f install


# apt-get dist-upgrade

to clear the errors and was able to install xfce4 and slim.
However, wasn't able to start X and while system booted, was very unusable.
Using apt-show-versions was able to locate 186 debs from Ubuntu which were still in the system.

$ apt-show-versions | grep ubuntu | wc -l 

So used Knoppix to restore from backup.
I'll have another go over the next few days with a different approach.

Maybe some extra steps are required to allow this to go smoothly?

Your advice is appreciated!

Last edited by rdav (2017-06-30 04:23:32)


#5 2017-06-30 03:44:21

Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 2,282  

Re: Devuan migration how to

Ubuntu is NOT Debian. The guide specifically says:

This document describes how to upgrade to Devuan Jessie from a Debian Wheezy install or migrate from a Debian Jessie install . . .

Mixing distros/repos, even those based on Debian, can really screw up a Debian/Devuan install and create a Frankende**an.

Backup your data, do a clean install and import your files.


#6 2017-07-01 04:05:20

Registered: 2017-06-30
Posts: 13  

Re: Devuan migration how to


Thanks for the tips, will do as suggested!



#7 2017-07-01 04:37:33

Registered: 2016-11-25
Posts: 2,282  

Re: Devuan migration how to

Good luck!  And for others who may want to go down that road . . . here's a quote from the Debian Wiki. The same goes for Devuan, of course:

Don't make a FrankenDebian

Debian Stable should not be combined with other releases. If you're trying to install software that isn't available in the current Debian Stable release, it's not a good idea to add repositories for other Debian releases. The problems might not happen right away, but the next time you install updates.

The reason things can break is because the software packaged for one Debian release is built to be compatible with the rest of the software for that release. For example, installing packages from Jessie on a Wheezy system will also install newer versions of core libraries including glibc. This results in a system that is not Wheezy or Jessie but a broken mix of the two.

Repositories that can create a FrankenDebian if used with Debian Stable:

    Debian testing release (currently stretch)

    Debian unstable release (also known as sid)

    Ubuntu, Mint or other derivative repositories are not compatible with Debian!

    Ubuntu PPAs


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