Release Notes [1]

Release Notes: aptosid 2010-02

Contributed by slh on Sep 14, 2010 - 02:40 AM

Now that aptosid has opened its gates, we have the pleasure to announce the immediate availability of the aptosid 2010-02 "Κῆρες" release. Aptosid is created by the same team of volunteers developing software under the Debian Free Software Guidelines [2] and continues what has been started in November 2006 under the name "sidux". This release is shipping in the following flavours:

  • KDE-lite, amd64, en/ de, ≈600 MB.
  • KDE-lite, i686, en/ de, ≈595 MB.
  • KDE-full, amd64+i686, en/ de (el, es, fr, hr, it, ja, nl, pt, pt_BR, ro, ru through liveapt) ≈2.2 GB.
  • XFCE, amd64, en/ de, ≈490 MB.
  • XFCE, i686, en/ de, ≈480 MB.

aptosid is a full featured Debian sid based live CD with a special focus on hard disk installations, a clean upgrade path within sid and additional hardware and software support. The ISO is completely based on Debian sid, enriched and stabilized with aptosid' own packages and scripts.

A bug has been found in the installer, which accidentally removes /etc/apt/sources.list.d/aptosid.list [3] if adding non-free Firmwares gets selected. Not selecting this option avoids this bug and allows adapting /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian.list afterwards, in order to install firmware or other non-free packages.

Release notes for Κῆρες

New features in aptosid 2010-02 "Κῆρες" are in particular kernel and KDE 4.4.5. Kernel 2.6.35 doesn't only improve and stabilise hardware support for newer devices, it also features improved powersaving support for ATi Radeon and Intel graphics cards and improved hardware video acceleration. Wlan support has been consolidated, with rt2x00 now supporting RaLink rt28x0/ rt30xx officially, as well as Atheros AR9271 devices becoming officially supported through ath9k_htc; with ANI (adaptive noise immunity) becoming supported by ath5k, wireless throughput should improve for the affected chipsets.

As usual, a large number of individual functionality enhancements and bugfixes have been applied to the full package line up and aptosid' own packages, in order to improve the general distribution infrastructure. The past months have allowed to take special care of the small aspects in many packages, to improve general policy compliance and functionality.

Although this release happens only shortly after the freeze leading towards Debian 6.0 "Squeeze", it is still based on Debian sid as of this day and is not meant or suited as an alternative way to install "Squeeze". Many security sensitive packages in aptosid (Debian sid) already sport a higher version number than their corresponding package in "Squeeze".

While Debian testing is frozen [4] in order to release Debian 6.0 "Squeeze", major new upstream versions of non-leaf packages or libraries are not getting published in Debian/ sid. Even though it might be tempting to pull new versions of KDE4 or iceweasel from snapshot repositories or experimental, we can neither recommend nor support doing so and suggest sticking to Debian/ sid and aptosid instead. Aptosid continues to provide fixes and upgrades to aptosid specific packages as usual.

Our special thanks go to the aptosid art- and manual teams and especially all mirror [5] hosters for their efforts regarding aptosid.

Minimum system requirements:

Now to the interesting topics, like what's on the menu for now:

Frequently asked questions


It is recommended to set keymaps, locales and timezone before booting the live system to be installed, by selecting them from the boot menu [F2], [F3]. This way, locale settings propagate to all required places for the installed system and don't require cumbersome changes at several places.


While grub2 offers increased flexibility for installations, like supporting new filesystems (ext4) or advanced installation options like LVM2 and improved detection capabilities for other distributions and operating systems, right now it is limited to a textmode menu. A new theming effort is currently under development and will be available in the future. Even though support for plain wallpapers would be already supported by grub2, it is still fragile and prolongs the system boot. Internally the configuration system for grub2 uses scripts snippets under /etc/grub.d/ to create its configuration file "grub.cfg" in a way that allows many self updating features, such as automating fromiso support with the help of "grub2-fll-fromiso" (optional).


With isolinux supporting gfxboot, it is possible to use isohybrid, which allows writing an ISO directly to USB storage or sd/ sdhc/ mmc memory sticks to make these bootable. isohybrid adds an MBR to the ISO and sets up a partition table with one active entry, the partition containing the ISO. This allows writing aptosid ISOs directly to USB storage devices of sdhc memory cards in addition to the well known possibility of using "install-aptosid-to-usb" (install-usb-gui). This option is particularly useful if there is no existing aptosid installation available and if an installation medium needs to be created from another distribution or operating system. It is important to note that this method overwrites the whole USB medium and restricts the available storage to the size of the aptosid ISO; install-usb-gui is not subject to these limitations and therefore the recommended option in case an existing aptosid system is available. Further partitions can be added to allow access to the unused part of the storage device.

cat /path/to/aptosid-*.iso > /dev/USB_raw_device_node

Further information about the aptosid install is available from the aptosid manual [12] at Installation options [13].

Wireless regulatory domain settings

The regulatory domain framework for cfg80211 based wlan cards requires crda to allow access to wireless channels above ch11 (2.4 GHz or their 5 GHz equivalents), without crda only the "world domain" (channel 1-11) is available. Previous hacks using module parameters ("ieee80211_regdom={US,EU,JP}") are no longer available and prevent cfg80211 from loading, please remove possible module-init-tools overrides ("grep -R ieee80211_regdom /etc/modprobe.d/" to find them) manually.

# apt-get update
apt-get install crda

Network booting aptosid

Network booting aptosid over PXE (Preboot Execution Environment) and NBD (Network Block Device) is supported, the required settings can be configured from within the boot menu [F4]. Instructions about how to set up an example PXE+NBD boot server can be obtained at aptosid netboot introduction [14].


A special feature of kde-full releases is the ability to select other languages than German or US English from the grub menu (F4), which automatically installs localisations for the desktop and many applications while booting. This ensures they are also present after installing aptosid, while only installing the required languages for the given system. The amount of memory required for this feature depends on the language and aptosid may refuse to install the given language packs automatically with insufficient RAM and the boot sequence will be continued in english language but with the desired locales-settings (currency, date/ time format, keyboard charsets). 1 GB memory or more is supposed to be safe for all supported languages, which are:

Hints for Upgraders:

aptosid tries hard to provide seamless upgrade path for debian and aptosid' own packages, nevertheless a few things remain that could be improved with manual interaction.

Crossgrading from "sidux"

A seamless crossgrade path from sidux to aptosid will be provided until the end of 2010. However a quick change is suggested because of potential issues outside of our influence.

If the automatic crossgrades fails, due to the original mirror disappearing, the following steps allow a manual crossgrade.

The semi-automatic crossgrade by using legacy "sidux" mirrors is easier and should be preferred, if possible.

nouveau in Debian prefers xserver-xorg-video-nouveau over xserver-xorg-video-nv since xorg 1:7.5+6, which unfortunately can't be supported by aptosid until it leaves the staging section and gains a stable ABI between kernel- and userspace. Therefore we recommend users of nvidia graphics cards to purge xserver-xorg-video-nouveau, so xserver-xorg-video-nv — which doesn't suffer from incompatible ABI changes — can take precedence again.

# apt-get remove --purge xserver-xorg-video-nouveau

We will offer nouveau support as soon as it can be done in a responsible way.


hal-cups-utils has been replaced by system-config-printer-udev, to automatically detect and configure USB printers.

# apt-get update
# apt-get install --purge system-config-printer-udev

In order to influence the detection and pursue further configuration, it is suggested to install system-config-printer-kde (KDE desktop environment) or system-config-printer (GTK2 based desktop environments) as well.

Obsolete packages

As part of the continuing development of aptosid, a number of packages have been replaced by better alternatives or become redundant.

Transitional packages and obsolete libraries can often be identified by "deborphan". While this tool is very convenient for ongoing system cleanup, its results should always be checked before using it as input for removals.

$ deborphan

The following command is able to find packages not available from any active apt repository and may hint at obsolete packages, be careful about manually installed packages though. apt-show-versions is a separate package and isn't necessarily preinstalled. For using apt-show-versions, it is absolutely mandatory to fully dist-upgrade the system before.

$ apt-show-versions | awk '/No available version in archive/{print $1}'


This is experimental software. Use at your own risk. The aptosid project, it's developers and team members cannot be held liable under any circumstances for damage to hardware or software, lost data, or other direct or indirect damage resulting from the use of this software. If you do not agree to these terms and conditions, you should not use or distribute this software.

How to get involved

Getting involved in aptosid is easy, just join us at our Forum [19] or even better on IRC (, port 6667, channel #aptosid [20]) and discuss your patches/ proposals or additions.

We will gladly discuss any dfsg-free patches and contributions, especially regarding alternative window managers (gnome, lxde), general janitorial tasks or translations/ localisations.


Please understand that the following roadmap is a rough estimate regarding our release schedule and is affected by the status of upstream Debian sid, major system components like, KDE, the linux kernel and our own developments and is subject to changes.

Given the late release of 2010-02 "Κῆρες", "Γῆρας" might be delayed until early 2011.

Special thanks go to the entire aptosid team.


Rick Battle (detaos)
Joaquim Boura (x-un-i)
David Creedy (klaymen)
Bernard Gray (cleary)
Chris Hildebrandt (slam)
David Kalnischkies (DonKult)
Aedan Kelly (etorix)
Stefan Lippers-Hollmann (slh)
Kel Modderman (kelmo)
Nicolas Poniros (edhunter)
Dinko Sabo (vibora)
Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
Trevor Walkley (bluewater)
Niall Walsh (bfree)

Documentation and Manuals:

Jose Tadeu Barros (ceti)
Alpha Mohamed Diakite (alphad)
Stefan R. Eissens (eislon)
Roland Engert (RoEn)
Alessio Giustini (alessiog75)
Markus Huber (hubi)
Mr Owl
Mutsumu Nomura (muchan)
Nicolas Poniros (edhunter)
Dinko Sabo (vibora)
Dorin Vatavu (dorin)
Trevor Walkley (bluewater)

Art Team:

Rick Battle (detaos)
David Creedy (klaymen)
Bernard Gray (cleary)

Web design Team:

Bernard Gray (cleary)
Chris Hildebrandt (slam)
Stefan Lippers-Hollmann (slh)
Dinko Sabo (vibora)
Ferdinand Thommes (devil)

Vital Support:

Chris Hildebrandt (slam)
Ralph Hokanson Jr. (piper)
David Kalnischkies (DonKult)
Aedan Kelly (etorix)
Ferdinand Thommes (devil)

Thanks to Hetzner Online AG [21] for sponsoring

On behalf of the aptosid team:
        Stefan Lippers-Hollmann (slh)