HOWTO Upgrade from devfs to udev on Debian Sarge

This article was first written in November 2004 for the BeezNest technical
website (

Some people used devfs under Woody, or under their previous Sarge install. When going kernel 2.6, it may be useful to revert or upgrade to udev instead. The problem is that their nomenclatura is different, so your system may be rendered unbootable. Let’s see what to care about to switch from devfs to udev.

First, the bootloader will no longer need the devfs=mount parameter on the kernel command-line. So, wheter you use GRUB or LILO, remove or comment the reference to devfs=mount.

Second, check in your /etc/fstab that you have nothing in devfs-nomenclatura, like /dev/ide/host0/bus0/target0/lun0/part3, but everything in the standard nomenclatura like /dev/hda3.

Third, install the udev package, it will probably bring some dependencies too. That’s ok.

Last, check the links in /etc/udev/rules.d/. There are probably two links to the upper directory: compat-full.rules and devfs.rules. Remove them and create a new link to udev.rules and to cd-aliases.rules like this:

# cd /etc/udev/rules.d/
# rm compat-full.rules devfs.rules
# ln -s ../udev.rules .
# ln -s ../cd-aliases.rules .

Now, reboot, and if you want, remove package devfsd.

Note: It may also be necessary to reconfigure some special packages which store device information in their configuration file, like XFree86.

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