Now that I have my server running again I fired up a virtual machine to play with Debian GNU/Linux:
- In a virtual machine of 512 MB RAM and 8gB storage, I did a standard desktop installation of Debian GNU/Linux Squeeze.
- I then put it in maintenance mode to free up RAM for a dist-upgrade (telinit 1), edited /etc/apt/sources.list to change squeeze to wheezy and ran apt-get update;apt-get dist-upgrade. That operation went a while and hung up on a package.
- I then tried aptitude dist-upgrade and the process completed successfully.
I think this example shows the strength of Debian GNU/Linux. Even though the next release is many months away and there are more than 1K bugs known, the system is still usable. I will stick with Squeeze in production systems but in the virtual world, Wheezy is taking shape quite nicely. This whole process took only an hour including downloading 1200 packages. It was quite easy with no critical decisions on my part except to read some notes and accept defaults.