Two suggestions for improving Fedora's PreUpgrade experience

January 7, 2009

Having just gone through a PreUpgrade experience (updating from Fedora 8 to Fedora 10, yes I am behind the times), I have two suggestions for how the whole experience could be made even nicer.

First, there should be an option to apply the current updates for the new distro version as part of the upgrade process, or at least to download them all in advance so that when I reboot and immediately do a yum update, I do not then have to sit around as my machine downloads another gigabyte. The nice implementation of this would merge the updates into the base install, but that might complicate Anaconda's and PreUpgrade's life too much. The ideal implementation would be capable getting updates from well known third-party repositories as well, so that you had exactly the RPMs that a post-reboot yum update would install.

(In fact, all installers should offer this option on Internet-connected machines. The very first thing I want newly installed machines to do is to get current on security patches, and doing it before they reboot and become live is better than doing it afterwards. I am willing to sit around in the installer waiting for the downloads, since I am only going to do this afterwards anyways.)

Second, make the upgrade environment a LiveCD environment, so that I can still do things while I am waiting for the upgrade to complete. LiveCDs are a great idea for all sorts of reasons but especially so during upgrades, which otherwise take your machine away from you when you had previously been productively using it. As it is, I can tell that I am going to be taking a long walk or two when I upgrade my home machine.

(I will also have to figure out how to avoid having the machine automatically reboot at the end of the upgrade process, since I am a bit nervous about upgraded machines coming up live without me around to watch them.)

Yes, I am aware that perhaps I should just get over my cautions and do a live yum upgrade. Maybe next time.

(The drawback of live yum upgrades is that it's much more complicated to download all of the necessary RPMs in advance, so that your machine does not spend a day and a half fetching things. I suppose that this is a good reason to figure out how to set up and use local yum repository mirrors.)

Comments on this page:

From at 2009-01-07 01:32:55:
  • download all the data needed for the upgrade...

yum --downloadonly upgrade -y

  • run the upgrade...

yum -C upgrade -y

By cks at 2009-01-07 09:20:32:

Excellent! Thank you. For some reason I had missed/forgotten the --downloadonly option (although I see it's not in the manpage).

Given this, I now have interesting thoughts concerning --enablerepo; it might be possible to make a temporary disabled repos file for the new version of Fedora and then enable it for the download run. (One would have to edit a normal repos file to specifically set the release version.)

From at 2009-01-07 23:43:51:

Please file enhancements requests in Thanks.

Rahul Sundaram Fedora Project

By rdump at 2009-01-08 02:23:09:

Heh, Rahul Sundaram doesn't appear to understand the difference between a blog that is read by at least dozens of sysadmins and the place bug reports go to be ignored.

One writes and reads a blog to document and learn about topics of interest. One reports bugs in a bugzilla installation in order that the reports are never seen.

Sadly, I'm only halfway joking about the ignored and never seen part.

Written on 07 January 2009.
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Last modified: Wed Jan 7 00:38:27 2009
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