Your Linux Data Center Experts

I had been putting off upgrading my laptop because it was working fantastically. I am kind of far from running a stock system, so upgrades are usually somewhat painful for me. In particular, I have a lot of custom Python packages including mod_python and friends that I had built specially for JOTWeb. I was sticking with FC1 because of all this, and by the time I was really wanting to upgrade the FC3 tests were out and I figured I'd wait.

FC3 final came out last week, and I finally upgraded. The first adventure was that my laptop has absolutely no removable media on it. No CD, no floppy even. I rarely have any desire for it. Every once in a while, though…

I wasn't sure if my laptop supported PXE booting to do the upgrade over the network. In the end my laptop did support PXE, but I decided (after doing some research) to use another mechanism. PXE booting isn't hard to set up, but it does require some setup and I found another mechanism that will work.

From the KRUD/Fedora first CD, you can copy the “images/pxeboot” directory to “/boot/pxeboot”, then add the following lines to your “grub.conf”:

title Local PXE Install Image
   kernel /pxeboot/vmlinuz
   initrd /pxeboot/initrd.img

This will give you another option in your boot menu from which you can boot into the PXE installer, without having to go through setting up dhclient and tftp servers on another machine. You'll still have to publish the KRUD files via a web, FTP, or NFS server, or have them local on your disc.

I had copied the images to the local disc, but the installer wouldn't recognize them. It seems the installer wants them to be on an ext2 file-system, and I'm running JFS. At first it didn't seem to be pulling up my network, so I was going to try the local upgrade option. That was just a fluke, though.

It looks like the installer would have run over the network on my Mini-PCI Prism-based WiFi card, but at that point I already had my laptop hooked up to the 100mbps wired net.

About 20% of the way into the upgrade, my laptop just froze. Not sure why. After a reboot, the upgrade didn't want to happen because it couldn't recognize / or /home. I tried another reboot, but my grub setup was hosed now. I had to manually get grub to boot the system into single user mode, which ran an fsck on the JFS partitions. After that, I was able to start the install again and it ran to completion without problem.

I decided at this same time to convert over to Postfix from qmail. Mostly because postfix is included with Fedora now and should provide fewer problems going forward. I had already set up efm's laptop with Postfix, so I could just copy her settings and make a few changes. That was easy. The big problem was that my python-based procmail replacement didn't work with the newer Python in FC3, so I had to fix that before mail would work.

FC3 seems to include the Prism54 drivers, but not the firmware. Worse, they've changed the location of the firmware in FC3. If you are running FC2 or older, I'd recommend you fix this right now by doing the following (of course, we always recommend you have recent backups):

mkdir /lib/firmware
cp /usr/lib/hotplug/firmware/* /lib/firmware/
rm -rf /usr/lib/hotplug/firmware
ln -s /lib/firmware /usr/lib/hotplug/firmware/

That should make it work with both FC2 and older and FC3, and will make your current firmware available.

JOTWeb just worked with the new setup. No problems there. I was running the Python.org 2.3.4 RPMs on FC1, and that caused some problems. The upgrade left the Python.org 2.3.4 RPMs while installing the same version from Fedora. I decided to remove the “python” and “python2.3” RPMs and then re-install the “python” RPMs (which I already had on my laptop, since yum wouldn't work to re-install them). That went fairly smoothly.

The new “yum” is great. It's much faster than the old yum. First of all, it doesn't have to download all the header files. It picks up a smaller XML file, which contains meta information about the packages in the repository. Then, as it needs headers it will download them. Also, the process of figuring out requirements is much faster. Good job yum folks.

Over all the upgrade wasn't too bad. I need to figure out why Firefox is unhappy, it's probably picking up a plugin I installed for the previous version, which is not happy with the new version. Apparently, Kevin was building a 1.0 final release RPM, so maybe I'll be able to upgrade to that.

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