Home > Debian > Upgrading a 30 year old Debian install Upgrading a 30 year old Debian install Thom Holwerda 2022-07-28 Debian 12 Comments Two weeks ago I upgraded chiark from Debian jessie i386 to bullseye amd64, after nearly 30 years running Debian i386. This went really quite well, in fact! This story gets more impressive the more you read of it. About The Author Thom Holwerda Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 12 Comments 2022-07-28 7:23 pm cb88 Error in title… This is an upgrade of 6 year old Debian install. He just happens to have been running Debian i386 for about 30 years (technically 29 since the first public unstable, he was on 0.95 apparently, and 26 years since the release of Debian 1.1 Buzz) Presumably his colo hasn’t been running the same hardware for 30 years either… since he mentions nothing about upgrading the hardware so it must have already been 64bit. 2022-07-28 9:20 pm Under-phil Maybe so, but it’s still a 30 year old install whichever way you look at it. Presumably they virtualised these machine some years back hence the move to 64-bit. 2022-07-29 12:15 am cpcf Click bait, I also immediately thought Debian upgrade on 30 year old hardware, that would be impressive. Ignoring that slight deception, Debian has been one of my goto distros for sometime, particular when I’m not converting a Windows user in which case I choose Linux Mint. I find Debian to be the most reliable over extended periods so I’m not surprised a server kicked off 30 years ago is still running under Debian, given it’s wide support for various platforms it’s like to stay that way for sometime. 2022-07-29 2:14 am sukru 30 years ago… Windows 95 was not even a beta, Windows 3.1 was just released. Slackware was not released. Linux kernel 2.0 was 5 years in the future. That is the software part. If I recall correctly Intel 486 DX2 66 was the “hot thing”, and 4MB RAM was “top of the line”. There is no way a 30 year old machine can run a modern Linux. (Checking Internet)…. Nope, someone actually booted Linux 5.6 from a floppy on a 486: https://hackaday.com/2020/07/08/the-latest-linux-on-a-floppy-in-a-486/ Anyway, it was not a 30 year old system. And they mention USB drives and mdadm and LVM, meaning it was actually a semi-modern setup already. 2022-07-29 8:07 am lproven I think you are misunderstanding the point of the article. This is one individual Linux installation, used by hundreds of people and by a widely-used public website, that is very nearly 30 years old. Yes it has been moved to new hardware. Probably repeatedly: it was installed in the year that Intel released the first ever Pentium chip. That isn’t the point. It’s the same install, and not some pure virginal untouched install; as he says, it still has traces of an older pre-Debian Linux setup. I wrote an article about this story. I suspect it is the single oldest Linux installation in the world, and nobody has come forward to contradict me so far. No, it is not a 6YO install. He did not install Debian 6. He hand-upgraded the machine to Debian 6 from an older version. And he should know how, as this is the former Debian Project Lead who stewarded the release of Debian 2.0, the first multiarch release. He is the original author of the `dpkg` tool. 2022-07-29 10:06 am cb88 And there are probably thousands of such installs out there it isn’t a big deal… it has been incrementally updated over the course of 30 years… just like thousands of other systems. I stated earlier this is an upgrade from a 6 year old install… regardless of what it was upgraded from before that isn’t that big of a deal. 2022-07-28 7:30 pm cb88 Also since this isn’t super obvious this is Ian Jackson. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Jackson 2022-08-07 1:42 am tux2bsd > Jackson was a member of the Debian Technical Committee until November 2014 when he resigned as a result of controversies around the proposed use of systemd in Debian. Yep. systemd is cancer. 2022-07-28 7:51 pm Bringbackanonposting Interesting Ian is allegedly anti-systemd. Upgrading to x64 and attempting a transition to Devuan Chimaera may have been pushing his luck… I just completed a Bullseye to Chimaera transition from an original Buster install the other day. Wasn’t too bad. I was surprised. 2022-07-29 2:52 am Rrups Ah, chiark almost immediately clicked and my brain produced: “that’s where you download PuTTY” 🙂 2022-07-29 10:07 am cb88 Exactly… 2022-07-29 1:25 pm Artem S. Tashkinov You can also upgrade RedHat 5.0 or something released around 1997 up to Fedora 30 or something (the last version to support i686). Switching from i686 to x86-64 is not so difficult either, so you can update all the way to the last release.