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This page presents hibernation under Debian.

Suspend and hibernate configuration in Debian Jessie

You may get hibernation working out of the box (even without uswsusp), provided that you have a swap partition big enough to hold an image of the system.

Suspend and hibernate configuration in Debian Lenny

The hibernation/suspend subsystem in Debian Lenny is rather unintuitive. It seems that the hibernate scripts in /etc/hibernate are used in conjunction with PM-utils. There's a pretty good description how hibernation works in Ubuntu in here:

Most of that seems is valid with Debian Lenny. The acpi-support stuff is Ubuntu-specific, though.

If you need to run custom commands when suspending/resuming, you should place your custom scripts to /etc/pm/sleep.d. Modifying the /etc/hibernate/*.conf files seems to have NO effect at all. You can use the script below as an example. Alternatively you can grab an existing script from /usr/lib/pm-utils/sleep.d/ and modify it.

# /etc/pm/sleep.d/51wireless
#
# The /etc/pm/sleep.d is the right place to put your custom suspend/resume scripts.
# None of the stuff in /etc/hibernate/ has _any_ effect (OnResume, RestartServices,
# UnloadModules etc). The /etc/init.d/atheros script is just a simple wrapper for
# unloading the ath_pci module.

case "$1" in
        hibernate|suspend)
                /etc/init.d/bluetooth stop
                /etc/init.d/atheros stop

                ;;
        thaw|resume)
                /etc/init.d/bluetooth start
                /etc/init.d/atheros start
                ;;
        *) exit $NA
                ;;
esac

Debian Lenny seems to default to uswsusp, but if your kernel supports Tuxonice (a.k.a. Suspend2), it should automatically use that instead.

Uswsusp

uswsusp is the default hibernation tool in DebianEtch. It uses an existing swap partition to save the memory state (see /etc/uswsusp.conf).

Hibernate without Swap Partition

How to Hibernate without Swap Partition.

Debugging hibernation

Kernel testing facility

Since linux 2.6.25, the kernel has a new Hibernation testing facility changelog.

Make it possible to test the hibernation core code with the help of the /sys/power/pm_test attribute introduced for suspend testing in the previous patch.

Writing an appropriate string to this file causes the hibernation code to work in one of the test modes defined as follows:

freezer
test the freezing of processes
devices
test the freezing of processes and suspending of devices
platform
test the freezing of processes, suspending of devices and platform global control methods(*)
processors
test the freezing of processes, suspending of devices, platform global control methods(*) and the disabling of nonboot CPUs
core
test the freezing of processes, suspending of devices, platform global control methods(*), the disabling of nonboot CPUs and suspending of platform/system devices

*) The platform global control methods are only available on ACPI systems and are only tested if the hibernation mode is set to "platform"

Then, if a hibernation is started by normal means, the hibernation core will perform its normal operations up to the point indicated by given test level. Next, it will wait for 5 seconds and carry out the resume operations needed to transition the system back to the fully functional state.

The actual message (for googlers) are hibernation debug: Waiting for 5 seconds and swsusp debug: Waiting for 5 seconds.

Changing or moving the swap partition

In case you need to change the swap partition, apart from updating /etc/fstab, you must also change /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/resume and execute

apt-get install --reinstall initramfs-tools