FreedomBox backport automatic update issue

When run on Debian stable, FreedomBox has an optional feature called “Frequent Feature Updates”. If this feature is enabled, it has 2 effects:

  1. The stable-backports repository is added to the system.
  2. Apt pinning is configured so that FreedomBox itself, and a small number of other carefully selected packages, will be kept updated to the latest version available in the backports repository.

However for bookworm-backports, there was a small change in the repository for bookworm-backports, which meant that our approach to apt pinning was no longer correct. The change is a difference between the repository’s “Suite” and “Codename”. For bullseye-backports, these were the same, but for bookworm-backports, they are now different (stable-backports vs bookworm-backports). The issue is described in [1].

The result is that a FreedomBox on the current Debian stable release, bookworm, will not automatically upgrade to new versions in bookworm-backports, even if the “Frequent Feature Updates” option is selected. The fix for a issue is a very small change to two configuration files (for apt and unattended-upgrades), so that they refer to the Codename instead of the Suite. (See [2] for details.)

So far, the fixed version of the freedombox package, 23.14~bpo12+1, is available in bookworm-backports. For FreedomBox users who would like to get the newer versions right away, you can get the latest package installed by running the following command through SSH or Cockpit’s terminal:

$ sudo apt install -t bookworm-backports freedombox

We are also planning to update the version of FreedomBox in bookworm to have the fix. Once this update is available, then running the above command won’t be necessary to receive FreedomBox feature updates.