Automated migration from a Debian bullseye/buster system to Devuan chimaera/beowulf.
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Ralph Rönnquist 6e44043513
added security and proposed updates
10 months ago
README.adoc more polishing 1 year ago added security and proposed updates 10 months ago


Debian to Devuan migration script

The script performs a simple and straight-forward migration of a Debian bullseye system into a Devuan chimaera system while preserving all user data. (In fact, the script will handle a Debian system of either bullseye or buster into your choice of either chimaera or beowulf)

The script performs a 2-stage migration with minimal operator intervention:

  • The first stage replaces the init system to be sysvinit and reboots,

  • The second stage upgrades the software to the standard chimaera/beowulf distribution and reboots again.

Quick How To
  1. First you enter a separate, non-GUI virtual terminal (maybe with control-alt-f3), and login as root. In some setups this is done using a systemd-rescue option. In others it works with the key combination control-alt-f3.

  2. Next, copy to /root of the host you want to migrate, and make the script executable. E.g.

    # wget
    # chmod a+x
    You should now review the script before executing it!
    # shasum
  3. Then, run the migration script with (note the digit 1 at the end):

    # DE=xfce ./start 1
  4. At the next prompt (when the script finishes) reboot with:

    # systemctl reboot
  5. The machine will then reboot and automatically perform the rest of the migration hands-free. Just wait while a lot of messages scroll past until eventually the machine reboots again and stops at the new login screen.

The above instruction takes you to a Devuan chimaera system with the xfce4 desktop environment. If you want to use something else, the script can handle mate, cinnamon, or kde instead of xfce.

Other Notes

The first stage of the migration prepares the system for using sysvinit rather than systemd, and this stage ends in requesting a manual reboot with the system primed (via /etc/rc.local) to enter the second stage automatically at next boot.

That second migration stage automatically performs all requested installations for the target chimaera/beowulf system and it also ends with another reboot.

During the second stage an explicit sshd is run to provide a possible "resuce entry" option just in case the script does run into trouble.

The system is migrated to Devuan chimaera unless you prefix the command line with DIST=beowulf, in which case it will migrate to beowulf.

The script replaces the original desktop environment that was used in Debian with the chosen desktop environment as mentioned on the command line, e.g. DE=xfce. The script also handles mate, cinnamon, or kde instead of xfce. Further, if the DE setting is omitted, then the Devuan system starts as a server system, i.e., without desktop.

this script only handles systems with Ethernet cable networking.