Sunday, December 27, 2009

Upgrading to Fedora 12 (part 1)

I decided to take the time off from the holidays to upgrade from Fedora 11 to Fedora 12. My past few upgrades of Fedora have all hit some sort of snag some of which I felt were real obstacles that the typical computer user would find it very difficult to overcome.

For this upgrade, I was ambitious and decided to try the live upgrade feature that was introduced in Fedora 10. By running "preupgrade", Fedora will download all the packages needed to upgrade to the new version in the background so the system can still be used. When everything is downloaded, the system will reboot, install the packages and then the system will be updated. That's the theory at least. This method of upgrading should be faster since it only downloads the packages needed instead of every package. Given my complaint from the last post where I downloaded the entire DVD iso then having to download nearly another DVD worth of packages on the first 'yum update', this method would address that since it will bypass the first part.

The instructions for using using Preupgrade is on the Fedora wiki. Essentially, it is suppose to just be running the command 'preupgrade' and everything else is taken care of automatically. That was kind of accurate. I ran the command and immediately ran into the most common bug with F12 upgrade. I used method 1 to work around it, but I didn't have any extra kernels so it was the tunefs that got me the extra space I needed. Seriously does the Fedora team really think that consumers would be comfortable having to do this in order to upgrade an OS? What Fedora did very well is that it warned me about the problem and none of it effected the current OS and as it promised, I was able to continue to use the system.

Okay, with that out of the way, it completed the download and it was now time to reboot. This is the stage where the system is not able to be used as it install the downloaded packages. However, at reboot, the system just hanged with the monitor showing "GRUB" and a blinking cursor... The upgrade corrupted GRUB and in order to fix it would require re-installing GRUB. The existing linux system is still there unharmed, the boot process just never made it that far. The irony of this bug is that "preupgrade" was meant to avoid having to create a bootable Fedora disc, but a bootable disc is needed to reinstall GRUB. I dug out my Fedora 11 install disc and booted into rescue mode. The following will install GRUB back to the system:

chroot /mnt/sysimage
grub-install /dev/sda # change /dev/sda to the drive you have your /boot

Rebooting after this, the system booted back into Fedora 11...?!? I guess I was able to confirm that so far my F11 instance is still completed unharmed, but this is suppose to be an automated upgrade to F12. I looked at the grub.conf file and it was suppose to give me the option to do a F12 Upgrade. So I rebooted again and made sure that I selected that option in GRUB before it booted back to F11.

Now the system is installing the package so let's see how it goes. I took a bigger chance this time by keeping both my LCD TV and USB drive connected. In the past, I already had to disconnection in order to upgrade successfully, so let's see what happen this time.

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