Your Linux Data Center Experts

If you haven't “pimped” your FC5 box too much with non-FC (and especially non-RPM) software, it should be quite possible for you to do an upgrade from FC5 to FC6 simply by running “yum update”. Fedora Extras, which continues to add more and more packages, makes it pretty easy to have a life where you don't add a bunch of crap to the system. It's pretty easy.

First of all, realize that if you have installed much software by hand, not using RPMs, it may very well break. It it's likely to break in subtle ways, or ways that are not easy to fix. If you have installed a lot of RPM packages that do not come from “yum install”, then these may cause upgrade conflicts.

In my laptop upgrade, I had exactly one package which caused a conflict, “eclipse-pydev”. This is not a package I have used, so I went ahead and just deleted it with “rpm -e eclipse-pydev”.

Before you go any further, make sure you have backups. I had been putting my upgrade off because we've been having problems with our home backup server, so the only copy I had was the less-frequently updated copy at our server facility. I also always try to do a “pg_dumpall” to save a copy of my latest Postgres database. Some upgrades require a dump, some don't. I heavily use Postgres on my laptop, so dumping the database can save a lot of pain later.

Also realize that this will take a fair bit of free space on your /var file-system. Do “df -H /var/cache” to see how much free space you have. For my install, it took around 1.5GB, it will vary depending on how much software you have installed.

You will probably also want to do this upgrade in single-user mode. Of course, you will need networking to be able to pull the updates over the network. So, boot into single user mode and then do “service network start” to bring up the network.

First step is to upgrade the fedora-release packages:

rpm -Uvh \ \

This is one long command-line which pulls the packages from the mirror site. Feel free to use copies you get from your favorite mirror site.

Note that if you have modified the fedora files in “/etc/yum.repos.d”, the above RPM command may tell you that some files were saved with the extension “.rpmnew”. If this is the case, you will have to move them over the files you modified, removing the “.rpmnew” extension. I had to do this because I force my box to always to go, so I don't have to worry about hitting a slow mirror.

Next, you will need to clear out the package data you have related to FC5. This is as simple as “yum clean all”.

Now you are ready to do “yum update”. This will take a long time. On my system, the details are:

Transaction Summary
Install     63 Package(s)
Update    1242 Package(s)
Remove       2 Package(s)
Total download size: 1.3 G

Sadly, our cable modem is only running around 500KB/sec downloads, but it is pretty much prime-time. That's almost an hour just to run the downloads, probably roughly the same to actually apply the updates to the system. Had I thought ahead, I would have mirrored a copy here to speed the process up, but I didn't.

You will probably want to go through the output from when it's upgraded the software to see if there are any files it's saved with a “.rpmnew” extension. These are mostly config files that you have modified, so you'll want to go through those files and see what changes you made in them.

Once this is complete, it's time to reboot into your new kernel and other software.

Lastly, clean up the downloaded packages with “yum clean packages”, this will clean up all the downloaded packages, which could add up to 1GB or more.

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