Wandering Thoughts archives


My experience doing a Fedora 17 upgrade with yum: it worked fine

Despite the warnings on the yum upgrade web page, I just got through doing a yum upgrade from Fedora 16 to Fedora 17 on my office workstation. The short summary is that it went fine. I'd say that it went without problems, but that's not quite true; it went with no more problems than usual for my office workstation. In specific, the directions for using a dracut reboot to execute the /usr merge worked flawlessly.

(Note that I had already transitioned to having a single system filesystem. Your mileage may be quite different if you still have a separate /usr on an old machine.)

The one non-standard thing that I did for this upgrade is that I started out by downloading all of the packages for Fedora 17 even before I had done the /usr conversion (and thus committed myself to doing a Fedora 17 upgrade), using 'yum --releasever=17 --disableplugin=presto --downloadonly distro-sync'. While this speeds up the actual upgrade somewhat, I had a bigger reason: checking for dependency problems.

While file conflicts aren't checked until the actual package installs start, yum will find most of the package dependency and compatibility problems from just downloading everything (well, technically from the dependency solving it has to do in order to know what to download). As usual for my yum upgrades, there were a number of Fedora 16 packages that I wound up having to remove in order to make yum happy with life here. By the way, note that --skip-broken is not necessarily a magic cure to this sort of problem; when I tried it in the first pass of resolving problems, yum confidently told me that it was proposing to skip over 2,000 packages (more packages than it was actually upgrading). Since that seemed unlikely to end well, I started removing my problem packages and was ultimately able to avoid using --skip-broken at all. And of course the ultimate advantage of doing this before I was committed to the upgrade is that I could have decided to hold off on the /usr conversion and the upgrade if serious problems turned up.

(People with straightforward Fedora 16 installs will probably not have this problem, but my office workstation has a lot of packages installed and in general is the accreted product of almost six years of upgrading from Fedora version to Fedora version instead of reinstalling from scratch.)

As usual I still need to do various cleanup steps, like sweeping my system for .rpmnew files and fixing up any of them that turn out to be important (and also checking for now-standard RPMs that need to be added). However I'm back running my usual environment and everything works fine (which is actually unusual for Fedora upgrades, where I generally have to spend some time afterwards fixing up my custom environment). In fact, some things have improved; my office workstation now properly does automatic mounting of removable devices.

(Apart from that Fedora 17 doesn't seem to be particularly different than Fedora 16, but that's really what I expect from running a custom environment. People who use Gnome or KDE may see more of a change.)

PS: my usual brute force approach for adding all of the RPMs that a standard Fedora install has is to just do a standard install in a virtual machine, copy the package list across, and install anything that's missing on my workstation. In theory one can fiddle around with 'yum groupupdate', but in practice I find it more work than the brute force approach.

Sidebar: minor problems that I ran into

In addition to package issues:

  • the machine didn't shut down and reboot cleanly after I did all of the yum upgrades. This wasn't the kernel issue that the common bugs page warns you about, but something else (it actually had a kernel panic during shutdown). I used Magic SysRQ to force a relatively clean reboot and there were no subsequent problems.

  • I had to run around turning off various services and daemons that decided that they should be running just because they were installed. If I had been really smart I would have checked for this before I rebooted the machine instead of afterwards.

  • I ran into the chronyd issue from the common bugs page because I still use ntpd on my workstation (I like it better for obscure reasons). No big deal; it's documented.

  • even with my custom-built version of freetype, font rendering seems slightly different between Fedora 16 and Fedora 17 (in a way that I don't entirely like). I need to investigate this more, but I consider it par for the course in the modern world of XFT fonts.

  • due to the removal of ConsoleKit in Fedora 17, the long-standing ck-xinit-session program has quietly disappeared; I had to take my invocation of it out of my 'start X' script.

As usual, the actual yum upgrade process took something like four to five hours. I doubt a DVD-based or a preupgrade-based upgrade would have been any faster, which makes me quite happy that I was able to keep using my workstation throughout the whole process.

linux/Fedora17YumUpgrade written at 00:25:12; Add Comment

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