Debian Wheezy backports


Well, here we are in another fine Tuesday morning in Sydney! Such was the volume of water pouring down the stairs in Town Hall station, I stacked. For those of you not from Australia (or New Zealand?), this referrs to face planting. Or tripping, or falling over, or smashing one's self on a ground in an unfortunate pose.

But enough of physical adventures. I've got a few Debian machines in production, having made the switch from CentOS to line up with what work is using. Interestingly, I've come fully around to the Debian/apt way of doing things, such that the Red Hat universe already feels a little foreign. Well, almost!

Somewhat in lieu of EPEL on my CentOS boxes, Debian has backports. According to the documentation, we can add this:

deb wheezy-backports main

This points to a redirector, which sends you to a closer geo and network mirror. Now you can install backported software with:

# apt-get -t wheezy-backports install <SOMETHING>

So now that we've done that, let's tread into troubleshooting territory. That's a nice, warm, fuzzy way of saying don't type the following lines. In fact, lets make this into a subheading.

Don't type the following

No, really. The number of times I've accidently entered a command I saw on a girl or guy's site late at night before realising its an example of what not to type, is rather embarrasing. Consider yourself warned.

Say for example, you have the following in your sources list, as I did:

deb wheezy-backports main

Looks good, right? Alas, it will give you this.

E: The value 'wheezy-backports' is invalid for APT::Default-Release as such a release is not available in the sources

I scratched my head for hours trying to figure this out. I could ping the server, view it in my browser, what's up? If you've arrived here via a web search, maybe you're asking the same question.

The issue is confused syntax. For squeeze-backports, the URL is:

deb squeeze-backports main

To repeat the first line in this post, wheezy-backports is:

deb wheezy-backports main

That's right, don't include "-backports" going forward with wheezy, and you'll be fine. Cue a reference to Looking Glass. And speaking of pointless references, that image of Yui inexplicably with a Debian Gnome desktop background was by WilusIronforge on DebianART DeviantART. Oh Ruben, you so funny.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and IaaS engineer in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Wait, not BIOS… my brain should be EFI by now.

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