Upgrading my Homeserver to Bullseye

Time to upgrade

My Homeserver is happily running Debian Buster for over a year now. Since August this year Debian Bullseye is released and I already upgraded all my laptops. I didn't update the Homeserver, because it is running a lot of "family critical" services, that have to work all the time. Imagine the problems if Internet was not working anymore (I am running Pi-hole as DNS server) or TV is not working (remember I am running Kodi with Tvheadend as backend)? Not something to take on lightly, when you want to have peace in your home :)!
So it was time … I was putting it off, but now I took a plunge and it mostly worked out-of-box. I sorted the problems in a couple of hours as my family was sleeping :).

Base Upgrade

I followed this guide loosely, to be sure I do not oversee some step.
This worked without bigger problems, although I got conflicts with the upgrade from Kodi 18 to Kodi 19. So I had to purge Kodi 18 in order to complete the upgrade of the system.


Domoticz is installed separately, not from Debian repos. But in the past after a big Debian upgrade it didn't work, because some libraries got changed etc. This time I was pleasantly surprised, nothing to do here after the upgrade.


Pi-hole didn't get started after the upgrade. Do not know why, but a short pihole -up fixed everything.


My setup is built up using this guide. After the upgrade Nextcloud was down.
I had a look in the /var/log/nginx/error.log and figured out that nginx was looking for php7.3, but my system is now running php7.4. I re-followed the guide linked above, configured php7.4 for Nextcloud and told nginx to use this now by changing it in /etc/nginx/conf.d/HttpGateway.conf.


As I wrote above, I had to purge Kodi 18 to complete the base upgrade. After the upgrade was done I simply reinstalled it again. For my initial install I followed this guide, to get Kodi 18 running in standalone mode.
With Kodi 19 I just had to change this line in systemd kodi.service file, because kodi-standalone script is not there anymore: ExecStart=/usr/bin/xinit /usr/bin/kodi --standalone -- :0 -nolisten tcp vt1.
All the other stuff with AE_SINK for sound and xserver-xorg-legacy for video is not needed anymore.

There was one more change that needed to be made. My light toggling didn't work anymore. This is because Kodi 19 made a switch to Python3 and the script was Python2. Because I was lazy, I pushed this script thru one of the Python2 to Python3 converter you find online. It worked :)!

Remote control with Harmony

This kind of stopped working, because some of the key presses (e.g. STOP) are not recognized anymore. I do not know exactly why, but it seems to have something to do with the kernel change to 5.10.
As a workaround I am booting kernel 4.19 from Buster, so the family is not noticing anything :).
Will keep looking what needs to be changed in the setup, when I get time and the family is sleeping again.


It was easier then I thought! Debian upgrades are always said to be easy, but doing it on a live system is always connected to some fear. This time, this fear was not needed.

Happy Hacking!!

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