Why you should upgrade your Stretch system now


If you run a system with an underlying Debian Stretch version, we recommend to upgrade it at least to Debian Buster now. Here is why.

Skip description and jump to update procedure: How can I upgrade now?

Debian release model

The Debian GNU/Linux operating system gets a major update every two years.
The latest stable version is Debian 11, codename Bullseye, released on August¬†14, 2021. With this release the previous version, Debian 10 codename Buster, became “oldstable” and receives only security updates by the Debian Security team until summer 2022. Afterwards, the Debian LTS team takes over with minimal security maintenance until 2024 (LTS: Long Term Support).
Debian 9 codename Stretch is the “oldoldstable” release, which is maintained by the Debian LTS team already, with support ending completely in summer 2022.

Release name1st releaseend of lifeend of life LTS
Debian 8 “Jessie”2015-04-252018-06-172020-06-30
Debian 9 “Stretch”2017-06-172020-07-062022-06-30
Debian 10 “Buster”2019-07-06plan 2022-07plan 2024-06
Debian 11 “Bullseye”2021-08-14plan 2024-07plan 2026-06
Debian release schedule (details see #1, #2)

Reasons to update

While Debian Stretch hence still receives minimal security updates, support issues with 3rd party software and non-security bugs are getting more and more. The stability of Debian is based on a major version freeze for all packages, to guarantee compatibility and stability of your current setup throughout APT package upgrades. The downside is that you won’t see new features, new standards, and new protocol support added with any package upgrade. Since Debian Stretch package major versions are at time of writing at least 4.5 years old, this has also a security impact, as no new cryptography and transfer protocols are supported.

Software developers cannot always support old libraries, frameworks, or runtime system versions, as this implies additional maintenance and end user support efforts, which means that with Debian Stretch you will also face an increasing number of manually installed or compiled software which you cannot update anymore. While there may be workarounds to install newer libraries, frameworks, or runtime systems manually, those often cause incompatibilities at other ends.

For DietPi this means that we need to add an increasing number of workarounds and backwards compatibility code to our scripts and images and disable more and more software for Stretch systems. The issues, bug reports, and end user support we need to handle for these systems is increasing notably. As a result, we plan to drop support for Debian Stretch with the first release in 2022, which will be DietPi v8.0. Existing Stretch systems will be automatically migrated to a dedicated update branch, which may receive critical security patches, but not further updates or bug fixes. We will however provide an easy to execute script to upgrade your system to Buster and migrate back to the stable DietPi release branch. You won’t need to flash a new DietPi image, though we recommend it as a cleaner solution.

How can I upgrade now?

When you find some spare hour, you can upgrade your Debian Stretch system to Debian Buster by following the steps provided in our documentation: https://dietpi.com/docs/usage/#how-to-upgrade-to-buster
This has been proven to be a very painless upgrade, with a very low chance of facing any issues.

If you find a spare day, we recommend to further upgrade to the current stable Debian Bullseye. Read our article about how to do that: https://dietpi.com/blog/?p=811

In any case, we guarantee to support you with any upgrade process when you open an issue at our GitHub repository: https://github.com/MichaIng/DietPi/issues

At least: How can I support DietPi?

If you find DietPi useful and if you benefit from using it, you can help us in a few ways: Contribute to DietPi

  • Support the DietPi developing group by joining us and
    • develop DietPi code
    • examine DietPi issues
    • support other users in our forum
    • enhance or extend our documentation
    • promote DietPi in the Social Media
    • write articles to increase the publicity of DietPi
  • Support DietPi with a donation: PayPal, Patreon, Brave Rewards

About the author

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DietPi Project lead (since Feb. 2019), main source code contributor, and the lead of the software improvements, DietPi Forum Administrator.

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DietPi Project lead (since Feb. 2019), main source code contributor, and the lead of the software improvements, DietPi Forum Administrator.

DietPi Blog

DietPi is an extremely lightweight Debian-based OS, optimised for minimal resource usage, ensuring your SBC runs at its maximum potential!