Tales From the Front: in Search of APT-GET UNDO

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Software

I am currently in that level of hell reserved for people who upgrade their GNU/Linux system too quickly. I have for some time now been happily using KDE 4 with the plasma desktop enjoying the cute little animations and eye candy, and learning to use the task-bar and widgets. Then my bliss was interrupted by a simple mistake. I decided to upgrade. I forgot that my /etc/apt/sources.list was set to load experimental versions of the software, and now my X-server system is broken. It is only now that I am discovering that there is no apt-get undo.

But to understand best how I got here, let me give you a little history. This year, I saved my pennies and bought a laptop — an Acer Aspire Timeline which has a rated battery life of 7 or 8 hours. I wanted this because of my habit of stopping in the middle of projects and carting my laptop around with me. I’d get up in the morning, start a project, close the lid, and hours later open the lid and finish. This doesn’t work if your laptop has only a two hour battery life.

After all, the new version was just a bug fix, right?
So, happily, I bought the laptop and wiped windows off of the system, installing Debian GNU/Linux in its place. The problem was that, at that time, there were no drivers for my laptop in the ‘stable’ version of Debian, so I had to download drivers from the ‘unstable’ version of the software.

Now Debian has at least three versions of their software available at any one time.

rest here