The Fedora Project wiki says that it’s possible to update to a new release using the Yum package manager, but that it isn’t recommended. Normally, I’d heed the advice of those wiser than me and do an upgrade from DVD media. Unfortunately, when I set up my desktop/server at home, I didn’t think my partitions through very well, so I figured a live upgrade was my best shot at not nuking /home. My first step was to do a full backup of everything onto an external drive. Protip: 28GB tarballs are awful — find a better way to do your backups.
After a few deep breaths, I started following the instructions at http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/YumUpgradeFaq. The instructions are well-written, and I was able to follow them with nearly no problem. When I got to the actual upgrade part, I got a few dependency errors, related to the redhat-artwork package. Seriously? Artwork is the holdup? Well redhat-artwork refused to be anything but what was currently installed, so I figured I’d just un-install it and see what happened. Normally, dependency hell prevents you from installing software; this time it prevented me from un-installing the package. Well that’s just plain unacceptable. After trying a few different combinations of packages to uninstall, I finally surrendered with `rpm -e –nodeps redhat-artwork`. From there on out, the upgrade went smoothly.
So what’s so great about going from Fedora 7 to Fedora 9? Well the main driving force was the fact that Fedora 7 was no longer getting new software, so if I wanted yum to automagically get Firefox 3 and Wine 1.0, then I needed a newer release. I considered going to 8 and then to 9, but that seemed like a whole lot of extra work. As it turns out, it didn’t really matter (although that may have helped my redhat-artwork issue, but maybe not). Apart from that, there are two things I noticed right off the bat. First, sudo now gives a more verbose prompt:
[1016 bcotton@boone /var/log ]$ sudo echo "wow Check out that informative prompt."
[sudo] password for bcotton:
wow Check out that informative prompt.
Have you ever been typing along and then you go to sudo and you forget what you need to do? Now you get a friendly reminder. It’s the little things like that, you know?
Of course, there’s also the second thing I noticed: KDE 4. When KDE 4 was released a few months ago, it was rather loudly touted on the internets. I was interested to try it, but not interested enough to install it by hand, so I was initially rather excited to see KDE 4 when I logged in. The excitement didn’t last very long. I am not a fan.
KDE 4 represents a significant change from KDE 3, including a much more eye-candyish look. It is certainly a snazzy desktop, but the default UI settings aren’t all that great. The default K-menu requires several more clicks to get to the application you want. Toolbar widgets can’t be dragged into place, you have to right-click, select “Start Move of $widget”, lead it where you want it to go with the mouse, and then right-click and select “Stop Move of $widget”. There are also fewer widgets (which will probably change as more people start using and developing for KDE 4), but it does support OS X widgets (at least the HTML ones). It also seems to be less configurable than KDE 3. This is apparently on purpose, since the code base isn’t as mature, so hopefully future releases will improve things. I’m not displeased enough to switch to Gnome, but this will take some getting used to.