Upgrading Alpine - v1.9.x

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This document covers upgrading from a previous version of Alpine 1.9 (or 1.10) to newer versions of 1.9 (or 1.10). Thanks to many improvements in Alpine 1.9, it is possible to easily upgrade in most scenarios.

All examples/instructions/actions mentioned in this document should be executed on the box that you are planning to upgrade (unless you are instructed otherwise).

Upgrading an Alpine Linux Hard-disk installation

When Alpine is installed to hard drive, upgrading the installation is simple.

Edit the /etc/apk/repositories file using an editor (nano for instance) and if necessary, add references to the Alpine package repositories. In the example below, the file references the Alpine CD, so that if a requested package is available on the local media, it will be obtained from there instead of being downloaded from the remote repository:

Contents of /etc/apk/repositories

/media/cdrom/apks http://dl-3.alpinelinux.org/alpine/v3.3/main

To upgrade, in this example, from version 3.3 to 3.4, simply change:




So that the file will look like this:

Contents of /etc/apk/repositories

/media/cdrom/apks http://dl-3.alpinelinux.org/alpine/v3.4/main
Note: Starting with version 3.3, there is a new repository called community. Many packages have been moved from the main repository to the community repository to indicate that they are not guaranteed to be supported beyond six months. If you are using any of these packages, be sure to add the community repository. For example: http://dl-3.alpinelinux.org/alpine/v3.3/community

Above, only one possible repository is shown, however, http://dl-3.alpinelinux.org/alpine/ may also be replaced with any geographically close mirror from: http://rsync.alpinelinux.org/alpine/MIRRORS.txt

Updating package lists

With the correct repositories file in place, the latest index list of available packages can be obtained with:

apk update

Tip: Adding the --update-cache or -U to another apk command, as in apk add -U ... or apk upgrade -U, has the same effect as always running apk update immediately before the other apk command. Instead of auto-update it only if the index has not been updated recently.

Ensure you have the latest available version of the Alpine Package Manager first before upgrading anything else:

apk add -u apk-tools

Finally, upgrade all remaining packages, including the kernel if applicable:

apk upgrade

Upgrading Separate Boot Media

You may have an installation where the boot media being used (such as a CD, for example) is separate from the media used to store the configuration information. In this case, simply download the latest ISO, and replace the boot media contents with the contents of the latest ISO. If you are booting from a CD, this would simply mean replacing the CD with a CD made from the new image and rebooting the Alpine box.

Upgrading Alpine on CF/USB

Your installation may consist of Alpine running on Compact Flash or USB media. In most cases, it should be sufficient to upgrade most packages using the Alpine Hard-disk Installation upgrade procedures described above. However, for new packages to survive after a reboot, you should enable APK caching.

Warning: As the newer version of alpine may include kernel upgrades, simply pointing the Alpine Package Manager to an Internet-based repository and running apk upgrade will not be enough, as kernel components are not upgraded when Alpine is run from memory.

Setup environment variables

To make the documentation a bit more "generic" we start by setting some environment variables.

vi /etc/lbu/lbu.conf

Make sure that the variable LBU_MEDIA is not commented (by removing the leading '#').

You also need to set a appropriate value for your LBU_MEDIA. The media you choose will be the media where you store your settings/configuration.

Note: Even if you have you alpine installed on CF, HD or USB you can still choose to save your config on some other media that suits your needs. But remember that both the media where you have your Alpine system AND the media where you have your config need to be in your box when booting it.





Now that you have your /etc/lbu/lbu.conf configured for your needs, we will set the environment variables (note the leading .).

. /etc/lbu/lbu.conf

You can test if your environment variable was set:


It should output something like usb, sda1, or whatever you just configured.

Back up your config

Before starting to upgrade, it's wise to save your configuration.

lbu ci

Upgrade Step-by-Step

Start by checking that you have enough space on your media.
You need at least 400MB available space.

df -h | grep "Filesystem\|$LBU_MEDIA"

Download and verify new release

Start downloading a new '.iso' and a '.sha1' file

cd /media/$LBU_MEDIA
wget -c Template:Latest 1.10 alpine iso-mirrorTemplate:Latest 1.10 alpine iso-filename
wget http://dev.alpinelinux.org/alpine/v1.10/iso/Template:Latest 1.10 alpine iso-filename.sha1

Check integrity of the downloaded files (it might take some time)

sha1sum -c Template:Latest 1.10 alpine iso-filename.sha1

The output of the above command should say 'OK'.
If says 'FAILED', delete the iso file and download it again.

Copy the new release

Mount the ISO.

mount -t iso9660 Template:Latest 1.10 alpine iso-filename /mnt

Back up files that you have modified. For example, you might have modified syslinux.cfg to show console output on a serial port.

cp /media/$LBU_MEDIA/syslinux.cfg /media/$LBU_MEDIA/syslinux.cfg.my

Install the rsync package if necessary, and copy the files:

cd /mnt
apk add rsync
rsync --delete -rltv .alpine-release * /media/$LBU_MEDIA/ 

Restore your backed up files (in case you had any)

mv -f /media/$LBU_MEDIA/syslinux.cfg.my /media/$LBU_MEDIA/syslinux.cfg

Make sure that all files are permanently saved in right place


Clean up

Clean up the downloaded/unpacked files

cd ..
umount /mnt
rm /media/$LBU_MEDIA/Template:Latest 1.10 alpine iso-filename
rm /media/$LBU_MEDIA/Template:Latest 1.10 alpine iso-filename.sha1

Save changes

Now that all upgrades are done, we should save our settings to our media (which you hopefully have backed up prior to doing this upgrade).

lbu ci


In most cases you will need to reboot Alpine (especially if there are changes in the kernel):

Note: If you know what you are doing, you might not need to reboot. But make sure that all services affected by the upgrade are restarted.