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03 Mar 13 How to install php 5.2 on debian squeeze (6.0.x), the debian way

You may know that the PHP version coming with debian squeeze is 5.3. Since the 5.3 version of PHP breaks some compatibility with 5.2 you may find that an old PHP application is no longer working with the new version of PHP on squeeze.
The steps required to install PHP 5.2 on debian squeeze are very simple, you just need to setup APT to install the PHP packages coming with debian lenny.

The first thing to do is to add the lenny repository to the end of /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://archive.debian.org/debian lenny main contrib non-free

Then you need to make sure that your favourite PHP packages will be downloaded from lenny instead of squeeze. You can do this creating the file /etc/apt/preferences.d/lenny, with this stuff inside:

Explanation: choose Lenny as installation source if the package is not already installed and not available from Squeeze
Package: *
Pin: release n=lenny*
Pin-Priority: 100

Explanation: choose Lenny as installation source for those packages
Package: libapache2-mod-php5 php5-common php5-curl php5-gd php5-mcrypt php5-mysql php5-cli php5-mhash php5-xsl php5-imap php5-xmlrpc php5-sqlite
Pin: release n=lenny*
Pin-Priority: 999

After that, remove any previously installed PHP 5.3 package, for example with the command

apt-get remove –purge php5\*

and then install the PHP 5.2 packages from lenny:

apt-get update
apt-get clean
apt-get install libapache2-mod-php5 php5-common php5-curl php5-gd php5-mcrypt php5-mysql php5-cli php5-mhash php5-xsl php5-imap php5-xmlrpc php5-sqlite

That procedure saved my life twice, I hope it will save yours too!

Reader's Comments

  1.    

    You gave me such a big help, Thank you for sharing.

    I’d like to share this link :

    http://www.rocko.me/how-to-downgrade-php-5-3-to-5-2-in-debian/

    (in the link’s article the lenny ftp is wrong, I used it only for the 5.3 correct removal)

    Reply to this comment
  2.    

    Worked for me too! Thanks for nice info.

    Reply to this comment
  3.    

    You saved my life too! Many thanks.

    Reply to this comment

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