I'm running Debian oldstable (Jessie 8) and I'm interested in installing some .deb packages for testing purposes from testing (Buster 10). I'll be downloading the .deb files directly from packages.debian.org, and installing them using dpkg -i.

If I needed to, how would I uninstall those testing/buster packages and revert back to what originally came with oldstable?



As others have suggested, you’d be better off upgrading to Debian 9 and using backports, rather than trying to use Debian 10 packages directly on Debian 8.

However, if you get all the dependencies right you should be able to run Debian 10 packages on Debian 8, as always at the risk of breaking your setup. Reverting is easy enough in your case, since you’ll be installing packages using dpkg -i:

  • for packages which weren’t installed previously, remove them with dpkg -P (which will purge them);
  • for packages which were installed previously, downgrade them with apt install ${package}/jessie.

Do note however that package downgrades aren’t supported; in most cases they will work, but if they break it’s not a bug and you’ll get to keep both pieces.


I seriously recommend that you create a virtualized machine and run your tests on it.

apt is amazing but even it might not be able to fix the potential problems that could arise if you so something wrong.

For reverting to older versions, see Stephen Kitt's answer.

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