Upgrade from Debian GNU/Linux from 8 Jessie/Stable to 9 Stretch/Testing

A lot of people prefer to have the latest software packages on their GNU/Linux system and as you may know, Debian Jessie is the stable version that only receives security updates or critical bug fixes. Thus, Debian 8 Jessie does not receive any new software. If you always wanted to use the latest software programs that are out there on your Debian GNU/Linux based distribution, you shall consider using Debian 9 Stretch which is, at the current moment the testing version of Debian GNU/Linux OS Distribution. One of Debian’s goals is to provide a consistent upgrade path and a secure upgrade process. However, experience has proven that daily life is not that easy. That is why, as a general rule of thumb, the less software packages have been installed on your Debian GNU/Linux OS, the smoother your Upgrade from Debian GNU/Linux from 8 Jessie/Stable to 9 Stretch/Testing process will go.

Upgrade from Debian GNU/Linux from 8 Jessie/Stable to 9 Stretch/Testing

First of all, you will want to know which version of Debian GNU/Linux you are running on your Computer. Use the command below to confirm that you are actually running a Debian GNU/Linux 8 Jessie/Stable:

$ lsb_release -a 
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID:    Debian
Description:    Debian GNU/Linux 8.0 (jessie)
Release:    8.0
Codename:    jessie

Then we have to update our current Debian 8 Jessie system, with a safe upgrade to the latest software updates made available for this stable version. It will fetch the latest software packages from the Debian Jessie repositories using the command:

sudo apt-get update -y && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y

After that, we should replace the Jessie software repositories with those referring to Debian Stretch in the sources.list file. It can be done either manually with a text editor like gedit or nano, or automatically via the sed command to type at terminal like below:

sudo -i sed 's/jessie/stretch/g' /etc/apt/sources.list
OR
sudo -i sed 's/stable/testing/g' /etc/apt/sources.list

As a result, the sources list file contains links to stretch repositories not the old jessie repositories anymore. So let’s update the package list and upgrade to the new version, with the same command we have seen earlier:

sudo apt-get update -y && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y

Finally, once you restart your computer, you can verify that you are now running a Debian 9 Stretch/Testing GNU/Linux Distribution. Use thelsb_release command to be confirm  you are now taking full advantge of a fresh Debian Stretch.

$ lsb_release -a 
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID:    Debian
Description:    Debian GNU/Linux 9.0 (stretch)
Release:    9.0
Codename:    stretch

Installing with the Debian 9 Stretch/Testing Installer

In addition, If you want to start using Debian 9 Stretch/Testing directly without upgrading from a Debian 8 Jessie/Stable, you shall consider downloading and installing with the Debian-Installer. With this link you can either:

  1. Download the Debian Testing Stretch RC 2 Official Release of the installer.
  2. Install the current weekly snapshot of Debian testing.
  3. Install the current daily snapshot of Debian testing.

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