Debian wheezy: python 3.2, codeblocks and some breakage

My, oh, my, how things have changed in just 2 days. In contrast to my last blog entry where I stated that things have calmed down, today the picture is quite different.

But, let's start with the good stuff. The brand new Python 3.2 has found it's way to the repository, it looks like only hours after the official announcement. That's why we all love this distro, it's freaking fast sometimes. Also, a nice IDE (Integrated Development Environment), which I never heard of before, has also been included. It's called Code::Blocks and it really looks neat. I installed it in case I find some time to check it out more thoroughly.

LibreOffice is up to 3.3.1~rc2, new ClamAV release 0.97 is also in. There's also a new version of PHP which now includes php5-fpm package, the fast process manager which will simplify things for server administrators. The package includes everything needed to start a pool of PHP processes used in FastCGI environments, including proper init.d support and a carefully crafted initial www pool configuration. Good job, Debian PHP team!

Now about the breakage, it's not really that bad, old evolution libraries (libcamel1.2-14, libebook1.2-9, libecal1.2-7, libedataserver1.2-13, libedataserverui1.2-8) were dropped out of the repository, but you'll need to keep them installed, otherwise most of the GNOME goodies would be gone (including panel, applets, etc...). I also keep librasqal2 and libsoundtouch1c2 installed, because I need pidgin and some other stuff.

But, beware of the libpackage-stash-perl package, because it breaks almost a hundred of other perl modules. Not nice... But, you also can't remove it, because the same things happens. The right solution, and the only one I found working, is to put it on hold, until it (or other stuff) is fixed. I don't know what it looks like if you didn't have this package before, and somehow the new version gets pulled in during the upgrade, but it's probably not pretty.

Finally, as I discovered more and more flash applets crashing, some of them important to me, I finally had to revert the flashplayer-mozilla package from back to That one is from debian-multimedia repository, mind you. And I'm still not sure that it's not Firefox's (4beta11) fault, but as the old version is working perfectly, I don't really care at this time. Also, I still keep libcairo2{,-dev} on hold, because the performance regression in the new version has not yet been fixed.

Let me also explain a few things about my Debian environment, which might be important. I'm still using legacy dselect as the tool to upgrade and manage my packages. But, because it has not been in a very good shape last year or so, I keep it at version which is the last one that worked well for me. That also means some other packages had to be put on hold: dpkg, dpkg-dev, dh-make-perl, devscripts, cron and ntp. It's too bad that I have to keep so much core stuff on hold for such a long time, but I guess I can't complain too much when everything works well, actually. The thing is, after more than a decade of using dselect, I just can't find a good reason to switch to something newer, especially because I couldn't replicate some of the functionality that made me fall in love with dselect (and Debian) many years ago. Let's hope the day will come when I'll be able to upgrade even those packages.




Have you installed Firefox directly from Mozilla and not Iceweasel from If you install Iceweasel it depends on xulrunner-2.0 which again depends on libcairo2 (>=1.10.2-1.1). I don't know why but that could be one reason for your flash problems.

For me Iceweasel (4.0~b11) and flashplugin-nonfree works ok.

Yes, my Firefox comes straight from Mozilla, and lives in /usr/local. I decided not to play with Debian's iceweasel, until the 4.0 comes out of experimental. For the time being, sid has 3.5.16 that is very very old compared to other software.

I don't know why flash plugin is unstable, but after I downgraded, it's stable again. I'm using the debian-multimedia package. I guess I could try flashplugin-nonfree and see how it works.

I've compared the plugins, they are close:

[~]% size /usr/lib/flashplayer-mozilla/
text data bss dec hex filename
11922208 185536 193128 12300872 bbb248 /usr/lib/flashplayer-mozilla/
[~]% size /tmp/
text data bss dec hex filename
11922208 185536 193128 12300872 bbb248 /tmp/

But not identical:

{magla} [~]% ls -al /usr/lib/flashplayer-mozilla/
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 12110348 Feb 11 07:36 /usr/lib/flashplayer-mozilla/
{magla} [~]% ls -al /tmp/
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 12127284 Feb 5 10:14 /tmp/

The version in /tmp is straight from Adobe's install_flash_player_10_linux.tar.gz. Something's fishy with debian-multimedia package. :(

Also I double-checked, they both have the same version string embedded in the library: LNX 10,2,152,27

I'm a dpkg co-maintainer so I'm also a dselect co-maintainer... but in practice none of the dpkg maintainers use dselect and we have been asking for help in its maintenance for years (see without success.

What feature of dselect do you lack in aptitude?

BTW, you can keep dselect on hold and still upgrade the rest of the dpkg packages...

It's a shame that dselect is dead. I still think it's a great piece of software. I just never got used to the aptitude interface. And dselect does all the work I want from a package maintenance tool, perfectly. Why fix what ain't broken?

Unfortunately, I can't keep only dselect on hold, because as soon as I upgrade dpkg, something happens to the package database and few dozens of extra packages get installed. The packages I don't want on my system(s), and I also can't find a way to get rid of them afterwards. Even if I deinstall them, the next dselect run selects and installs them all over again. :(