I have a faceless root server mainly running a web service (Apache with php5), mail and VPN. It's about time I get this updated to a stable and supported system version.

I followed the Debian upgrade docs, but ran into minor(?) issues such as that while my system still uses "eth0", there is no /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules file, so I don't even know how to proceed there.

Ignoring that for now, I cannot get apt update working. I have, after some reading come up with this /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb [trusted=yes] http://archive.debian.org/debian stretch main contrib non-free
deb [trusted=yes] http://security.debian.org/debian-security stretch/updates contrib main non-free

There is also a file /etc/apt/sources.list.d/backports.list, which I changed to:

deb [trusted=yes] http://archive.debian.org/debian stretch-backports main

apt update then lists dozens of Ign: … lines and these:

Err:3 http://security.debian.org/debian-security stretch/updates/contrib amd64 Packages
  404  Not Found [IP: 80]

ending with:

Reading package lists... Done                     
E: Failed to fetch http://security.debian.org/debian-security/dists/stretch/updates/contrib/binary-amd64/Packages  404  Not Found [IP: 80]
E: Some index files failed to download. They have been ignored, or old ones used instead.


After fixing the "debian-security" source link, I then tried to update to buster, using this list:

deb http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian buster main contrib non-free
deb http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian buster-updates main contrib non-free
#deb http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian buster-backports main contrib non-free
deb http://security.debian.org/debian-security/ buster/updates main contrib non-free

(The backports link led to another "no Release file" error, so I left it out.)

This leads to:

# apt update
Hit:1 http://security.debian.org/debian-security buster/updates InRelease
Hit:2 http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian buster InRelease                      
Hit:3 http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian buster-updates InRelease              
The AppStream system cache was updated, but some errors were detected, which might lead to missing metadata. Refer to the verbose log for more information.
Reading package lists... Done
E: Problem executing scripts APT::Update::Post-Invoke-Success 'if /usr/bin/test -w /var/cache/app-info -a -e /usr/bin/appstreamcli; then appstreamcli refresh-cache > /dev/null; fi'
E: Sub-process returned an error code

1 Answer 1


As indicated in Security repo for Debian stretch not working anymore, you need to replace the line pointing to the security update repository to

deb http://archive.debian.org/debian-security stretch/updates main contrib non-free

This replaces the

deb [trusted=yes] http://security.debian.org/debian-security stretch/updates contrib main non-free

you currently have.

See also apt-get update failed to fetch debian amd64 packages while building dockerfile from maven:3.5.2-jdk-8 for more general context around Debian 9 repositories.

Your Buster update retrieved the information needed for apt correctly. The error only pertains to AppStream, which apt doesn’t need; you’ll be able to upgrade without it.


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