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I need a package that's in jessie, the newer version of Raspbian, but not in wheezy, the one I have installed. Can I use it somehow? Can/should I just upgrade to jessie?

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Can I use it somehow?

Maybe -- you can try. Edit /etc/apt/sources.list.d/sources.list and add a line:

deb http://archive.raspbian.org/raspbian/ jessie main

Then run apt-get update. This may take a few minutes. Searching for the package should now show it, and you can try apt-get install [whatever]. You may have to pull in further substantial updates from jessie.


Can/should I just upgrade to jessie?

You can [as of Sept/2015, you probably should], but read the caveats below first.

First add the line as above above to sources.list, then:

apt-get dist-upgrade

You may also want to comment out the wheezy line from the sources.list above to prevent clutter or confusion in the future.

A few things to note about this:

  • It requires a substantial download (1/2 GB+) and takes a while in addition to that (perhaps a few hours), during which time you must occasionally answer questions.

  • It changes the init system to systemd, replacing the older SysV init. You can install a compatibility package if this proves awkward.

  • I'd need to check but I think Raspbian has always defaulted to wheezy. For most of that time wheezy was the testing release. It has only recently become the stable release. – joan Dec 15 '14 at 21:03
  • @joan Yeah, it rolls forward debian.org/releases Perhaps saying raspbian uses wheezy because it is stable is a bit of a simplification but hopefully it gets a point across. – goldilocks Dec 15 '14 at 21:07
  • I do use jessie/sid myself. However as the Pi is used by a lot of newcomers to Linux I was a bit critical that Raspbian was originally based on the testing rather than the stable release. I agree that using a stable release is the proper choice for the majority of users. – joan Dec 15 '14 at 21:17
  • Raspbian started with wheezy because wheezy was the first Debian release to have arm hard float support. Tweaking the minimum CPU settings is a lot easier than adding hard float support from scratch. – Peter Green Oct 16 '15 at 17:57
  • The late release of a raspberry pi foundation raspbian jessie image was mostly down to difficulties forward porting the foundation's modified packages (most notablly their hacked up version of ephiphany) – Peter Green Oct 16 '15 at 17:59

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