Typically I run Debian’s stable distribution (currently code named ‘squeeze’) on all my systems. The great thing about Debian is it’s stability. I’ve been burned by Ubuntu a couple of times, and I really don’t like their custom non-standard windowing system (name Unity), but I digress….
The problem is that this stability has a price – namely that their releases come few and far between, and when you are at the end of their release cycle many of your software packages are outdated. Such was the case I ran into over the last week. On two different software projects I hit a brick wall because the version of Ghostscript in Squeeze (8.7) didn’t have some of the features I needed in one case, and in the other it was puking while processing PDF files created by a new copier/scanner that one of my other clients just started using.
While the upgrade wasn’t as straight forward as some in the past, I was able to follow these instructions without too many problem. The only issues that I ran into were:
At the end of step 4.4.6 I couldn’t install udev due to some dependency conflicts. At this point I was able to reboot to bring the system up under the new kernel. Unfortunately, since I was running the custom NVIDIA Xorg driver, my gdm/xwindows quit working. I stopped gdm (which was looping and consuming resources), and continued the installation in a console (which is what I probably should have been doing in the first place.
Immediately after that, when I ran ‘apt-get dist-upgrade’, dpkg borked with the following errors related to the gnome-watchdog package:
dpkg: error: parsing file '/var/lib/dpkg/status' near line 66623 package 'gnome-
blank line in value of field 'Description'
Log ended: 2012-11-07 06:25:29
which indicated that there was a blank line in a dpkg database file that shouldn’t be there. I had to edit that file, along with /var/lib/dpkg/available to correct the problem, after which I was able to run ‘apt-get dist-upgrade’ again.
After everything was completed I deleted the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, and I was able to get back into xwindows (since it was able to autoconfigure everything with the NOUVEAU driver), and now my screen and fonts look much better by the way.
And most importantly, it solved both problems I was having with Ghostscript (updated version now 9.05), which for the record were:
using lout to create a postscript file with internal crosslinks, and used ps2pdf, when you clicked on the links in the PDF file they wouldn’t actually do anything.
when using ghostscript to burst a PDF created by a newfangled scanner/copier (whose Author tag was ‘LateralData LP’ and Creator and Producer tags were ‘Viewpoint’) it would throw one of the usually cryptic errors that Ghostscript is known for. I’m pretty sure it was due to some new twist on the image compression schemes.
Anyway – hope this helps someone out there in the future.