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Downgrading from Sid/Unstable to Etch/Testing

Initial considerations
Testing represents a compromise between Unstable (cutting edge) and Stable (mature). Packages from unstable are then put in testing after a test period. One can consider that this testing time allows to maintain security with updates.

Furthermore, to maintain your Kanotix hard drive installation as Testing (information on different releases are available at: http://www.nl.debian.org/releases/ ), proceed as follows:

Change the entry in the /etc/apt/apt.conf file, from:
APT::Default-Release "unstable"; 
// APT::Default-Release "unstable"; 
either by deleting or by commenting it out by use of double slashes at the start of line.

All the Debian Unstable sources in the list (/etc/apt/sources.list) will be commented out by the use of a # at the beginning of the line, alternative sources will be either commented, or changed over to Testing as long as they are available.

Finally, there is still another file, /etc/apt/preferences, which has the following contents:
Package: *
Pin: release a=testing
Pin-Priority: 1001
Explanation: With the so-called "Pinning" one can set priorities for apt-get. A priority of >1000 for testing forces apt-get to the downgrading of the packages.

Open a root terminal, then as root:
# init 2
// Optional: stop CUPS, if desired, with:
# /etc/init.d/cupsys stop
// and then: 
# apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade
// or
# aptitude update && aptitude dist-upgrade
Since some of testing has the same conditions as unstable, only relatively few, if any, packages are replaced. If one has not done apt-get upgrade in a long while, depending on the conditions of the installed unstable package, it's possible that some packages will be even replaced with packages with newer version numbers, because the testing packages have already higher version numbers than the installed unstable packages.

It's possible that one must perform apt-get dist-upgrade several times if necessary, because of dependencies which have to be processed successively, so that the following downgrades are also carried out.

If there occur version conflicts, resolve then dpkg --[parameter].
Otherwise: done ;-)

If one would like to maintain along a pure Testing distribution, the file /etc/apt/preferences can be deleted and the line
 APT::Default-Release "testing"; 
can be appended in the file /etc/apt/apt-conf.

The system can also be updated from the Synaptic menu:
 Update > System > Update > Smart Update
Details in SynapticHowTo (auf Deutsch)

However, downgrading to testing with Synaptic is not recommended. There is a high probability that changes to packages would be made, which are required by Synaptic to run (e.g. at least X runs), which can lead to problems.

"Etch" oder "Testing"
If "Etch" had been typed instead of "testing", one could arrive to the situation of having a Stable system (when the current Etch/testing becomes the new stable), whereas, using the entry "testing" assures that when Etch becomes Stable, you will still be pointing to Testing, whatever it's new name shall be. The proceedure described above can be also applied in principle to a downgrade to Stable/Sarge, but one has to wonder if that would be wise.

Alternative: "Gentler downgrade"
Simply comment out, like described above, all the unstable sources in the sources.list and add the following line in apt.conf,
APT::Default-Release "testing";
With each upgrade and/or dist-upgrade only those unstable packages which have a testing version number higher than the unstable version number are now replaced by testing packages. A downgrade "by force" does not take place.

From this point, one could track "testing". When a new Kanotix version is released, use the Update Install, adjust to the Gentler Downgrade as above, and continue with a Stable, up-to-date "testing" -- an up-to-date production desktop system.

Detailed directions, with references to fine tuning among other things, for instance to build a testing/unstable mixed distribution, can be found at: Quick-Reference.en
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