Upgrading Home Server to Debian Jessie

My second attempt at upgrading from Debian Wheezy to Jessie failed as well.

Unsmooth Upgrade

The first problem I had with upgrading is that several pieces of software just wouldn't upgrade smoothly.

Rather than using sudo apt-get dist-upgrade only, I had to use sudo apt-get install -f, sudo dpkg --configure -a.

At some point php5 wouldn't upgrade because it was dependent on php5-json, which I couldn't install because php5 was already installed. I had to uninstall several packages, install php5-json, and then reinstall the removed packages.

Then came the big problem: after rebooting my on-board NIC wasn't working, and at the point in the boot process where the login screen/prompt should be displayed gdm3 got stuck in an endless crash/restart loop (making it look like there was a flashing underscore in the top left of the screen).

This is exactly the same issue I had last time, and I hoped that by now it would have been fixed. Luckily I found my backup drive and backed up before the upgrade, but right now I am booted into Ubuntu Live 14.10 and have configured my home server so that it is working as a router (so that Internet connectivity on my other devices still works).

Ubuntu Live DVD as Router

The first thing to do was to install vlan, cryptsetup, and lvm2.

Then I had to get my server working as a router so my other devices (like my iPad) had access to Google, so I need a DHCP server.

sudo apt-get install vlan cryptsetup lvm2 isc-dhcp-server
cd /mnt
sudo su
mkdir HomeServer
cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdg2 SSD
vgchange -a y SSD
mount /dev/SSD/Root HomeServer/
cd HomeServer/
cp etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf /etc/dhcp/
service isc-dhcp-server restart
cp etc/network/iptables.bak /etc/network/
iptables-restore < /etc/network/iptables.bak
cd /mnt
umount HomeServer
nano /etc/sysctl.conf
sysctl -p

I then opened up network-manager and configured eth1 and eth1.1 (VLAN) and eth1.2 (VLAN), giving them IP/netmask of,, and respectively. I entered as DNS server.

At this point my devices could access the Net again.


cd /mnt
sudo mkdir HomeServer
cd HomeServer
sudo cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdb1 WDRED
sudo cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdg2 SSD
sudo vgchange -a y SSD
sudo vgchange -a y WDRED
sudo su
mount /dev/SSD/Root .
cd ..
cd HomeServer
mount /dev/sdg1 boot/
mount /dev/WDRED/Var var/
mount /dev/WDRED/Tmp tmp/
mount /dev/WDRED/RootHome root/
mount /dev/WDRED/Home home/
mount /dev/SSD/Usr usr/
mount /dev/WDRED/Opt opt/
mount --bind /dev dev/
mount --bind /dev/pts dev/pts/
mount --bind /proc proc/
mount --bind /sys sys/
mount --bind /run run/
LANG=C chroot /mnt/HomeServer

Attempting to Fix Things

First thing is to run apt-get update and apt-get dist-upgrade. Only fuse and libfuse2 were upgradeable.

Next is to edit /etc/network/interfaces because Jessie changes how MTU is calculated which prevented eth1, eth1.1 and eth1.1 from starting. Comment out all MTU-related lines.

Next is to remove the AMD Catalyst drivers. Press CTRL+Alt+F1 and then chroot again:

chroot /mnt/HomeServer/
sudo su -
cd /usr/local/bin/
./sgfxi -n

By using sgfxi, I can remove the existing driver and install the default driver.

After backing up /etc/network/ to an SD card, I exited both chroot environments, unmounted everything under /mnt/HomeServer I had mounted for the chroot envirinomnet, vgchange -a n and cryptsetup luksClose SSD and cryptsetup luksClose WDRED, and then rebooted.

LVM Not Found

Instead of fixing things, I have made them worse. After a reboot I was expecting to be asked to enter the passphrases for my two LVMs and instead was met with an error that the LVMs weren't found. At this point I downloaded Debian 8.0 Live ISO and burned it to DVD.

I then booted to Debian Live.

I created a HomeServer chroot environment again, checked for updates again, and then I edited /etc/crypttab.

The reason LVM wasn't found is because things have changed: crypttab now requires that the LVM volume name be the same in crypttab.

Ergo, I had to replace sda1_crypt with WDRED, and sdb2_crypt with SSD, in /etc/crypttab.

Because an invalid crypttab results in no crypto modules being loaded at boot time, I needed to update initramfs.

sudo update-initramfs -u

Test Boot

There were still a few remaining issues on reboot. LVM/LUKS was working, and the boot process was now hanging at started manage install and generate color profiles.

The problem? My on-board ethernet adapter was not found. I logged on to BTWifi-with-FON from my laptop, Googled Realtek r8168, and downloaded the linux 64-bit driver (source) from www.realtek.com.tw (LINUX driver for kernel 3.x and 2.6.x and 2.4.x, updated 2015-05-14).

CTRL+ALT+F1 still worked on my home server, so I didn't need a Live DVD for the moment.

I copied the driver to an SD card, and then on my home server copied the driver to ~/. I then installed it:

tar xjf 00[tab]
cd r8168[tab]
sudo su -

I rebooted again, and this time it was hanging at NTP.

After CTRL+ALT+F1'ing again, I logged in, checked for updates with apt-get, and then removed ntp and installed openntpd.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get remove ntp
sudo apt-get install openntpd

I then edited the GRUB config so that Jessie was the default (selected) boot option:

sudo nano /etc/default/grub
sudo update-grub

I then uninstalled (again) the AMD Catalyst drivers and installed the Debian open source drivers:

sudo apt-get purge fglrx*
sudo rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf
sudo apt-get install --reinstall xserver-xorg-core libgl1-mesa-glx:amd64 libgl1-mesa-glx:amd64
sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

Final Test Boot

Another reboot later, and this time the Gnome login screen appeared. A lot of things aren't starting on boot still and need starting/restarting/reloading manually.

Having said that, it may have taken a few days but my home server is now running Debian Jessie.

Hitting the same problem with Jessie Stable and Jessie Testing, I decided it would be best to persevere and get Jessie working this time otherwise my home server would gradually fall out of date software-wise.

One of the issues that has re-occurred (can't remember if I previously fixed it in Wheezy) is that logging in causes any hard disks in standby state to spin up. I am going to download my Twitter archive to see if I posted anything last June about this issue.