How to update Linux Debian?

I had already asked this question here in a similar form (a little more concise), but so far no answer has been received, so I am asking it here again. I realize that this is the wrong forum, because it is not about a client, but it is about Linux, so dear Linux users, please help me if you like it.

I am the sole software developer in a small company and after our admin left the job, I, as the only Linux enthusiast, am supposed to mother the Linux servers. Happy to do so. It works as I expected on all the other servers, only one server behaves differently. It is called Univention, and that is where the problem starts for me, because I have no precise idea what that means or what it does. There is something on the homepage that it has to do with authentication. I roughly remember that it was said, this is necessary so that Microsoft Office 360 (they happily use MS most for everything) ​​would incorporate employee changes into the address book, but the server also runs web application Ethercalc (seems to be used by few, but some people in the company, I don’t know who, and since I work from home 400 miles away, I can’t do a round of the house asking everyone), and some kind of WordPress intranet. Anyway, like all other Debian systems, after support for bug fixes ends at the end of June, a release upgrade would have to be done (the other systems have already done so), but that doesn’t work because other repositories are apparently being used here. That’s what my question linked above says. However, there is no answer yet, and I don’t know if that’s the right forum either, because it’s for “corporate servers”, is it automatically corporate if it’s used by a company, or does that only mean if you’ve bought a certain license for corporate? I’m a bit lost there. Here, today I am extending my hand for help, if anyone feels compelled to help, I would be very grateful.

Hi Matthias,

I know this won’t bring any resolution to your question, but I would suggest you tell your bosses to hire someone who will be responsible for running the system. Alternatively, get paid for system administration and agree on timeframe in which you will understand the whole of this system.

In either case, be careful what you do and make sure you can undo any changes you have implemented.

Yes, of course we are desperately looking for replacements; and yes, of course we take a snapshot beforehand so that we can go back if something goes wrong.

To be honest, such a situation is unpleasant, but it happens quite often in business environments that someone breaks away and suddenly you are left with an IT infrastructure that is doing something, and nobody really knows what. I have experienced this a few times. Thanks to hear from you anyway.


what’s the reason for push on upgrading Debian? If it isn’t exposed to the internet I would leave it until someone knows what exactly is happening. Out of support doesn’t mean failing and in a desperate need for an upgrade.

If you have an Univention Server at the centre of your domain, use the web GUI for any updates. Sign in with suitable permissions (user) and use the update wizard. This would be the ‘safest’ way to proceed.

You say this happened before, and a few times too. I would start by making proper system documentation with a basic understanding of what’s what. Connections, services and mapped relations will significantly reduce stress (user/operator) when updating nods next time round. BTW, your bosses might want that for the next lot of interviews :wink:

And finally, maybe it is a good time to verify why people are using some services when others are compatible. If you have problems with management, running a lot of ‘random’ services isn’t very effective. Maybe, all you need is UCS domain with self-hosted Nextcloud and Collabora instead of a local domian, azure with office365 and some other integrations.

Hope this helps,

The first reason for this is of course legal. If you are obliged to follow the German “General Data Protection Regulation” (DSGVO) law, that means it is forbidden to run computers with operating systems that have been abandoned by their publishers. If there is a hacker break-in, there are extremely high penalties, that the company may die. All secondary consequences follow from this, so that insurance coverage is lost if you are out of date against “state of the art” (in its legal meaning, whatever that means), etc.

For me, this is simply bad style, and distribution updates should be possible, also because distribution updates are possible for all other computers. I am trying to understand the background. Why are the usual repositories removed here? Are they not permitted in the Univention context? As far as I can tell, Univention is not a distribution itself. How are the update paths planned here? Where can I find information about this? (I looked, but found none.)

Of course I do the existing updates, and these actually still update the system. But what is the background here? How was Univention installed? Into the working distribution? Or was there an image that was rolled out? Why don’t these repositories exist? Were they never intended? Were they subsequently removed? Could I just add them back? Or simply: If anyone else is using this besides us, you must all be facing the same problem, how do you solve it?

I’m also surprised that, since there is a company behind this, no company employee seems to have responded to the forum within weeks. Does this company still exist? Is it a dead horse? What is all this? Questions in the dark that demand an answer …

The answer to the original question has been answered in the original question thread. Consider this thread closed. Thanks again for the useful and helpful, valuable thoughts!

Matthias, I noticed the below however you sound a bit agitated so I thought I try to explain.

UCS are great for allowing free use of the core version of the server. The UCS server is great for number of people and provides fantastic functionality at no cost to the end user. Yes, with free you don’t get support and only some enthusiasts will answer your desperate questions. It does happen that some of the UCS employees visit and add comments too.

You have complete freedom to look at buying enterprise or go with a different supported product like RHEL or MS Server. Here, depending on the support you will be paying for, you can expect or even demand answers.

We have no idea how your system was installed, and who has done it. It would be impossible to answer questions related to your specific installation.

Read the docs and search the forum, there’s a good chance someone has already answered your question.

Finally, maintenance and end-of-life for all UCS versions is available here.


I was less agitated, I’m only responsible for something I know little about, and support is… small. I’m just trying to understand. (It’s uncomfortable to be responsible for something you don’t understand, you know?)

From what I read, as far as I understood it, Univention is a concept that seems extremely clever to me! I wasn’t aware that it was a distribution, I didn’t stumble across this information immediately when I read the homepage (yet). Perhaps there is still room for improvement here. Yes, perhaps an Enterprise Plan is good for us, but I’m not in a position to decide; I’ll take it with me to the meetings. After I found out from the DistroWatch link that I got in response to my questions, you’re based in Germany, which makes a lot of things easier for us, as we are too. No, I didn’t look for imprint on the website, it seems very international, and didn’t read it. Greetings from Calw to Bremen.

I would like to add one more suggestion for improvement: Perhaps you can also change the output of lsb_release -a so that it displays Univention also in the ‘Description:’, not Debian. Then I would have realized sooner that the distro is not Debian, but Univention. Yes, now I see, Distributor is “Univention”, but as I did read “Debian 10 buster” in the “description”, I assumed that would be the distribution running. My suggestion would be to change this as well, since you are something different.