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Release Notes

Release Notes: aptosid 2013-01

Contributed by slh on May 05, 2013 - 06:04 AM

We now have the pleasure to announce the immediate availability of the aptosid 2013-01 "Ἑσπερίδες" release, shipping in the following flavours:

  • KDE-lite, amd64, en/ de, ≈625 MB.
  • KDE-lite, i686, en/ de, ≈620 MB.
  • KDE-full, amd64+i686, en/ de (cz, da, es, fr, it, ja, nl, pl, pt, pt_BR, ro, ru, uk through liveapt) ≈2.0 GB.
  • XFCE, amd64, en/ de, ≈515 MB.
  • XFCE, i686, en/ de, ≈510 MB.

aptosid is a full featured Debian sid based live CD with a special focus on hard disk installations, a clean upgrade path within sid and additional hardware and software support. The ISO is completely based on Debian sid/main, enriched and stabilised with aptosid's own packages and scripts and adheres to the Debian Social Contract (DFSG).

Release notes for Ἑσπερίδες

New features in aptosid 2013-01 "Ἑσπερίδες" are in particular kernel 3.9 and numerous integration and stabilisation fixes. Special focus has been cast upon improving system compatibility with various UEFI systems and the Ivy-Bridge architecture; basic Haswell support should now be complete. Kernel 3.9 doesn't only improve and stabilise hardware support for newer devices, it also improves powersaving approaches for libata targets, modern sound drivers and multi-head environments with AMD/ ATi radeon graphics cards.

Intel Ivy-Bridge graphics profits from improved DisplayPort support, while nouveau has gained initial fan-control for NV40 and NV50 chipsets (GeForce 6xxx/ 7xxx/ 8xxx/ 9xxx/ 1xx/ 2xx/ 3xx). The radeon driver for AMD/ ATi graphics cards has gained support for the Oland (Radeon 8500/ 8600 series) chipset generation and Richland APUs.

On the file system side CIFS now support the SMB 2.0 and SMB 2.1 protocol, while the mdadm layer can now pass through TRIM support. A new development is the dm-cache target, which allows using SSD storage to speed up hard disk access.

Atheros AR5523 support has now been merged officially, while Broadcom has added initial support for BCM43224 to brcmsmac. A new driver has become available for the Realtek RTL8723AE wlan chipset and r92su replaces the staging rtl8712u driver for the Realtek RTL8188SU/ RTL8192SU chipsets. With iwlmvm, Intel provides the first IEEE 802.11ac driver for their IWL7xxx wlan chipsets, as Atheros and Wilocity contribute a 60 GHz (WiGig WBE) drivers for the QCA WIL6210 generation.

GPT and UEFI reliability have been improved, which allows hard disks exceeding 2 TiB and their use for booting on new systems using UEFI instead of the traditional PC-BIOS. Particular emphasis has been cast upon improving UEFI support on various hardware platforms and to avoid bugs in the varying firmware implementations, both upstream and in aptosid.

As usual, a large number of individual functionality enhancements and bug fixes have been applied to the full package line up and aptosid's own packages, in order to improve the general distribution infrastructure.

Although this release happens in close temporal proximity to the Debian 7.0 "wheezy" release, it is still based on Debian sid as of this day and is not meant or suited as an alternative way to install "wheezy". Many security sensitive packages in aptosid (Debian sid) already sport a higher version number than their corresponding version in "wheezy" or are even uninstallable in a "wheezy" context.

aptosid after the "freeze"
Now that "wheezy" is about to be released, the version freeze that reached up to sid will be lifted again within the next few days. Given that there are a number of high impact changes (KDE 4.10.2/ kdepim2, xserver-xorg-core 1.14.0, udisks2, grub2 2.00, etc.) staging in experimental and are just waiting for the freeze to be lifted, the following 2-3 weeks might be slightly more vibrant and potentially less coordinated than usual in regards to package updates from Debian, therefore we recommend a little caution during dist-upgrades. This might involve checking for eventual upgrade warnings on or to wait a few hours if KDE 4.10 or are among the upgrading packages for experiences from advanced users. Please be aware that it might not always be possible to react in time, now that Debian employs four mirror pushes a day.

We'd like to thank our sponsor Webtropia (part of myLoc managed IT AG), who provides hosting for our development– and web infrastructure. The servers from myLoc managed IT AG provide a proper technical solution for our needs, running our own server variant of aptosid.

Our special thanks go to the aptosid art- and manual teams and especially and all mirror hosters for their efforts regarding aptosid.

Minimum system requirements:

  • amd64:
    • CPU requirements:
      • AMD64
      • newer 64 bit capable AMD Sempron and Intel Pentium 4 CPUs (watch for the "lm" flag in /proc/cpuinfo or use infobash -v3).
      • Intel Core2
      • Intel Sandy-Bridge and Ivy-Bridge.
      • Intel Atom Series (2xx/ 3xx, N4xx/ D4xx/ D5xx; the N2xx series does not support EM64T)
      • VIA Nano
      • any x86-64/ EM64T capable CPU
    • RAM requirements:
      • KDE: ≥1 GB RAM (more recommended)
      • XFCE: ≥512 MB RAM.
    • VGA graphics card capable of at least 1024x600 pixel resolution.
    • optical disk drive or USB media.
    • ≥3 GB HDD space, ≥10 GB recommended.
    • supported boot methods:
      • PC-BIOS+MSDOS partition table (maximum HDD size <2 TiB)
      • PC-BIOS+GPT partition table (maximum HDD size <8 ZiB, /boot/ must physically be below 2 TiB in its entirety)
      • UEFI+GPT (maximum HDD size <8 ZiB)
  • i686:
    • CPU requirements:
      • Intel Pentium pro/ Pentium II
      • AMD K7 Athlon (not K5/ K6)
      • Intel Atom Series (Z5xx/ Z6xx, N2xx)
      • VIA C3-2 (Nehemiah, not C3 Samuel or Ezra)/ C7
      • any x86-64/ EM64T capable CPU or newer
      the full i686 instruction set is required.
    • RAM requirements:
      • KDE: ≥1 GB RAM (more recommended)
      • XFCE: ≥512 MB RAM.
      • using i686, only 3.1—3.4 GB RAM are accessible, amd64 (x86-64/ EM64T) is strongly recommended for 64 bit capable hardware.
    • VGA graphics card capable of at least 800x480 pixel resolution.
    • optical disk drive or USB media.
    • ≥3 GB HDD space, ≥10 GB recommended.
    • supported boot methods:
      • PC-BIOS+MSDOS partition table (maximum HDD size <2 TiB)
      • PC-BIOS+GPT partition table (maximum HDD size <8 ZiB, /boot/ must physically be below 2 TiB in its entirety)

Now to the interesting topics, like what's on the menu for now:

  • Debian sid, as of 2013-05-05.
  • kernel 3.9 (smp, hard preemption).
  • xserver-xorg-core 1.12.4.
  • enable KMS support for ATi, Intel, drm-cirrus, Matrox and nVidia based graphics chipsets.
  • DRI (3d) support for ATi Radeon chipsets (refer to non-free sources and Drivers).
  • KDE 4.8.4 (en + de).
  • Iceweasel 10.0.12ESR
  • new, SVG based, art theme created by the aptosid art team.
  • offline manual for en + de directly on the disc, online manuals for more languages online at and available via apt; a big thank you goes to the documentation and translation teams!
    Please note that the offline manual is only available on the running live CD or the installed system.
  • many changes for the manual.
  • ar5523 support for 54/ "108" MBit/s Atheros USB wlan cards (AR5523).
  • ath5k support for 54/ "108" MBit/s Atheros wlan cards (AR2425, AR5210, AR5211, AR5212, AR5213 and AR5414).
  • ath6kl support for Atheros AR6003 based USB and SDIO wlan cards.
  • ath9k support for 802.11n Atheros wlan cards (AR5418+AR5133, AR5416+AR5133, AR5416+AR2133, AR9160, AR9280, AR9281 and AR9285).
  • ath9k_htc support for 802.11n Atheros USB wlan cards (AR7010/ AR9271).
  • carl9170 support for 802.11n Atheros USB wlan cards (AR9170 "otus"), now supporting HT/ aggregation and AP mode.
  • b43/ b43legacy support for older Broadcom wlan cards.
    OpenFWWF 5.2 opensource firmware for the following Broadcom AirForce 802.11b/g wireless cards:
    • BCM4306
    • BCM4311 revision 1
    • BCM4318
    • BCM4320
    support for LP-PHY (BCM4312) and SSB based 802.11n (BCM4321, BCM4322) devices, non-free firmware images required.
  • brcmsmac for modern Broadcom 802.11n PCIe/ AXI wlan cards (BCM4313, BCM43224, BCM43225).
  • brcmfmac for modern Broadcom 802.11n USB wlan cards (BCM43235, BCM43236, BCM43238).
  • iwlagn support for IPW 3945/ 4965 and the IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n part of the Intel Wireless WiFi Link 1000/ 2000/ 5xxxAGN/ 6000/ 6050/ 7xxx family.
  • rt2x00 support for RaLink rt2400, rt2500, rt2570, rt61 and rt73 802.11b/g cards.
  • support for RaLink rt27x0, rt28x0, rt30x0, rt33xx, rt35xx, rt53xx 802.11b/g/n PCI/ USB cards through rt2x00.
  • support for RealTek RTL8180L/ RTL8185 PCI/ cardbus and RTL8187/ RTL8187B USB wlan cards.
  • support for RealTek RTL8188CE/ RTL8192CE, RTL8188CU/ RTL8192CU, RTL8188DE/ RTL8192DE, RTL8188SE/ RTL8192SE (PCIe) and RTL8188CU/ RTL8192CU (USB), RTL8723AE (PCI) 802.11n wlan cards.
  • memtest86+.
  • kvm (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) for kde-full; kvm depends on hardware virtualisation support (AMD pacifica virtualisation extensions "svm" or Intel IVT (vanderpool) virtualisation extensions "vmx")
  • access point support for many mac80211 based wlan cards through nl80211 and hostapd (optional).
  • client support for network booting over PXE/ NBD.
  • support QXL graphics emulation (SPICE).
  • add loopback.cfg generation, to provide generic live media support for grub2.
  • provide a safety fallback for generic efi binary and bootloader detection to the live media.

Frequently asked questions


It is recommended to set key maps, locales and time zone before booting the live system to be installed, by selecting them from the boot menu [F2], [F3]. This way, locale settings propagate to all required places for the installed system and don't require cumbersome changes at several places.

The 64 bit "amd64" editions should be strongly preferred on modern hardware supporting it.

device mapper/ LVM2/ mdadm/ cryptsetup

A long-standing issue with Debian's initramfs integration for various device mapper based targets, like lvm2, mdadm or cryptsetup, might be triggered more likely due to minor timing changes in recent kernels. "rootdelay=1" as kernel parameter can be used as a temporary workaround for affected systems not finding the rootfs on top of a device mapper backed block device; in rare cases it might be needed to increase the rootdelay further. This setting can be added on the fly from the grub2 boot menu or be made permanent by adding it GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX in /etc/default/grub and running update-grub afterwards.


Starting with kernel 3.8.5, the kernel refuses to write efivars if their free space drops below 50% in order to avoid damage to broken Samsung systems. As this also affects updating existing efivars (like grub-efi boot entries, BootOrder or BootCurrent/ BootNext) on existing systems, it is suggested to remove bogus data (older kernels dumped kernel logs in pstore needlessly) from pstore.

# mount -t pstore -o kmsg_bytes=8000 pstore /sys/fs/pstore/
# rm /sys/fs/pstore/*

Due to the nature of various UEFI garbage collector implementations on existing hardware, it might be required to go through a full (non-kexec) reboot, before pstore contents become visible — and another full reboot before the garbage collector actually frees up the space for efivars. Starting with aptosid 2013-01 "Ἑσπερίδες", pstore is cleared unconditionally during each boot of the live media!

On some hardware, efivars is always more than 50% full starting from the factory settings, for these cases it might be required to supply "efi_no_storage_paranoia" as kernel parameter to live- and installed (GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX in /etc/default/grub) system; using this kernel parameter might be dangerous on broken UEFI implementations, please use with care.


With isolinux supporting gfxboot, it is possible to use isohybrid, which allows writing an ISO directly to USB storage or sd/ sdhc/ mmc memory sticks to make these bootable. isohybrid adds an MBR to the ISO and sets up a partition table with one active entry, the partition containing the ISO. This allows writing aptosid ISOs directly to USB storage devices of sdhc memory cards in addition to the well known possibility of using "install-aptosid-to-usb" (install-usb-gui). This option is particularly useful if there is no existing aptosid installation available and if an installation medium needs to be created from another distribution or operating system. It is important to note that this method overwrites the whole USB medium and restricts the available storage to the size of the aptosid ISO; install-usb-gui is not subject to these limitations and therefore the recommended option in case an existing aptosid system is available. Further partitions can be added to allow access to the unused part of the storage device.

$ cat /path/to/aptosid-*.iso > /dev/usb_raw_device_node

Further information about the aptosid install is available from the aptosid manual at Installation options.

Wireless regulatory domain settings

The regulatory domain framework for cfg80211 based wlan cards requires crda to allow access to wireless channels above ch11 (2.4 GHz or their 5 GHz equivalents), without crda only the "world domain" (channel 1-11) is available.

# apt-get update
# apt-get install crda

The default region for crda can be configured under /etc/default/crda, while temporary settings can be accomplished via "iw set <country code>".

Network booting aptosid

Network booting aptosid over PXE (Preboot Execution Environment) and NBD (Network Block Device) is supported, the required settings can be configured from within the boot menu [F4]. Instructions about how to set up an example PXE+NBD boot server can be obtained at aptosid netboot introduction.

UEFI booting

Preliminary support for booting with UEFI has been added to the amd64 editions for aptosid since 2011-02 "Ἡμέρα". While the installer GUI has not been finalised yet, the boot loader will be an EFI program installed to /efi/aptosid within your "EFI system partition" and mounted below /boot/efi/ on your installed system, provided the following conditions are met:

  • x86-64/ EM64T system (amd64).
  • booted using UEFI, this is apparent from the plain white/blue grub2 menu, instead of the usual graphical boot menu provided by isolinux for BIOS booting, on the live medium.
  • a vfat formatted EFI system partition on a GPT disk (type EF00) exists on the target system.
  • the install target is not a USB disk.

At the moment aptosid only offers UEFI booting for its 64 bit edition (amd64), 32 bit UEFI (such as older Apple systems) is currently not supported.

Please also refer to "efi_no_storage_paranoia" above.

UEFI bootable removable devices

In order to create a UEFI bootable device, such as a USB stick, the contents of the aptosid ISO can be extracted to a vfat formatted partition and the partition marked as bootable. Optionally this removable medium can also be made compatible with PC-BIOS booting by installing a traditional boot sector in addition to the EFI boot loader (assuming /dev/sdz1 to be the target partition on the USB stick).

# syslinux -i -d /boot/isolinux /dev/sdz1
# install-mbr /dev/sdz

Microsoft Secure Boot

There are currently no plans to support Microsoft Secure Boot. In order to allow dual-booting in UEFI mode with other operating systems, this option needs to be disabled in the system firmware. Toggling this firmware setting does not break the installed operating system.


A special feature of kde-full releases is the ability to select other languages than German or US English from the boot menu (F2), which automatically installs localisations for the desktop and many applications while booting. This ensures they are also present after installing aptosid, while only installing the required languages for the given system. The amount of memory required for this feature depends on the language and aptosid may refuse to install the given language packs automatically with insufficient RAM and the boot sequence will be continued in english language but with the desired locales-settings (currency, date/ time format, keyboard charsets). 1 GB memory or more is supposed to be safe for all supported languages, which are:

  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English (GB, US, AU)
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Polish
  • Portuguese (BR, PT)
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Ukrainian

The language selection depends on the availability of aptosid-manual translations, get involved to add your language.

Additional help is urgently needed for these languages, before their translation status degrades too much.

Hints for Upgraders:

aptosid tries hard to provide seamless upgrade path for debian and aptosid's own packages, nevertheless a few things remain that could be improved with manual interaction.

Transitional packages and obsolete libraries can often be identified by "deborphan". While this tool is very convenient for ongoing system cleanup, its results should always be checked before using it as input for removals.

$ deborphan

The following command is able to find packages not available from any active apt repository and may hint at obsolete packages, be careful about manually installed packages though. apt-show-versions is a separate package and isn't necessarily preinstalled. Before using apt-show-versions, it is absolutely mandatory to fully dist-upgrade the system and carefully check manually installed packages.

$ apt-show-versions | awk '/No available version in archive/{print $1}'


This is experimental software. Use at your own risk. The aptosid project, it's developers and team members cannot be held liable under any circumstances for damage to hardware or software, lost data, or other direct or indirect damage resulting from the use of this software. If you do not agree to these terms and conditions, you should not use or distribute this software.

How to get involved

Getting involved in aptosid is easy, just join us at our Forum or even better on IRC (, port 6667, channel #aptosid) and discuss your patches/ proposals or additions.

We will gladly discuss any dfsg-free patches and contributions, especially regarding alternative window managers (GNOME, LXDE), general cleanup tasks or translations/ localisations.


Please understand that the following roadmap is a rough estimate regarding our release schedule and is affected by the status of upstream Debian sid, major system components like, KDE, the linux kernel and our own developments and is subject to changes.

  • Νέμεσις
  • Φιλότης

Special thanks go to the entire aptosid team.


Rick Battle (detaos)
Joaquim Boura (x-un-i)
Roland Engert (RoEn)
Chris Hildebrandt (slam)
David Kalnischkies (DonKult)
Aedan Kelly (etorix)
Stefan Lippers-Hollmann (slh)
Kel Modderman (kelmo)
Trevor Walkley (bluewater)
Niall Walsh (bfree)

Documentation and Manuals:

Joaquim Boura (x-un-i)
Alpha Mohamed Diakite (alphad)
Stefan R. Eissens (eislon)
Roland Engert (RoEn)
Alessio Giustini (alessiog75)
Markus Huber (hubi)
Pavlo Libovych (polix)
Janusz Martyniak (wiarus_old)
Mutsumu Nomura (muchan)
Rasmus Güllich Pørksen (ragupo)
Dawid Staropietka (DaVidoSS)
Bruno Torremans (btorrem)
Lluís Tusquellas (Luis_P)
Robert Ulatowski (quidam77)
Dorin Vatavu (dorin)
Bram Verdoodt (Bram0s)
Petr Vorel (pumrel)
Trevor Walkley (bluewater)

Art Team:

Rick Battle (detaos)

Web design Team:

Rick Battle (detaos)
Chris Hildebrandt (slam)
Stefan Lippers-Hollmann (slh)

Forum Moderators:

Ralph Hokanson Jr. (piper)
Markus Huber (hubi)
David Kalnischkies (DonKult)
Mutsumu Nomura (muchan)

Thanks to for sponsoring

On behalf of the aptosid team:
        Stefan Lippers-Hollmann (slh)