Knoppix is a Debian-based Linux live DVD.

I've liked the pre-installed packages in Knoppix so much, that I've installed it to disk. My question is about /etc/apt/sources.list.

In Knoppix, the sources.list file has MANY repo links, it includes links for stable, testing, unstable and experimental (lenny, squeeze, wheezy, sid...etc), all uncommented.

There's a copy of the sources.list file here: http://ghghgh.us/sources.list

The strange thing is that in the /etc/apt/apt.conf file, the default release is wheezy, as it says:

APT:Default-Release "wheezy";

I'm wondering, should I COMMENT OUT or REMOVE all the links in my sources.list file that aren't wheezy/wheezy related? what is the advantage to having so many links (when only one points to sources for the default release?

  • my own answers to these questions: -An easy way to simplify this sources.list file is to understand that this is an example of apt-pinning. Essentially, a stable version of Debian is installed, but apt (or aptitude) is looking at the testing, unstable and experimental repos for new packages. To turn my system into something more like normal Debian, I simply removed the links for everything except testing and experimental, and added "deb-src" to experimental. Then I ran "sudo aptitude update" Jan 30, 2013 at 5:41

1 Answer 1


With wheezy declared as the default release, packages will be installed from wheezy if available. If you request a package and there is no package by that name in wheezy, it will be installed from whatever source provides it. Furthermore, you can request the installation of a package from another source by specifying it explicitly: apt-get install release/package-name or apt-get install package-name:version-number.

I don't recommend a Knoppix-based installation as a long-term thing. Knoppix mixes all kinds of sources, so you'll have a hard time updating programs as Debian evolves, because you'll have to do the work of coordinating library and program versions among all the sources you use. I recommend starting from Debian instead, and copying the list of installed programs and (if you want) configuration files from Knoppix.

You can generate a list of installed packages by running

dpkg --get-selections >selections.list
apt-mark showauto >auto.list

Restore the list and the automatic installation markings by running

dpkg --set-selections <selections.list
apt-get dselect-upgrade
apt-mark auto $(cat auto.list)

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