Upgrading to Fedora 11

All of the cool kids know that Fedora 11 was released on Tuesday.  I’d played with the Beta a bit and didn’t notice a whole lot of major differences (certainly not the big changes I found when I previously upgraded) so I figured release day was a good a time as any to upgrade.  I started with my weather data server and the process wasn’t as smooth as I’d hoped.

Before I got started, I removed some packages that I don’t need.  This machine only needs to run NFS, SSH, and LDM, so anything else is a waste of resources.  It turns out I probably wasn’t very careful with my initial install of this machine, because in addition to removing a few packages, I ended up removing several groups: “KDE (K Desktop Environment)”, “MySQL Database”, “Web Server”, “Authoring and Publishing”, “Dial-up Networking Support”, and “Graphical Internet”.

The cleanup completed, it was time to upgrade.  Once again, I followed the rather helpful guidance of the Fedora Project wiki.  The first step is to update the package lists.  For whatever reason, rpm and/or the ftp server didn’t seem happy about the * in the URL, so I had to run them separately:

# rpm -Uvh ftp://download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/fedora/linux/releases/11/Fedora/i386/os/Packages/fedora-release-11-1.noarch.rpm
# rpm -Uvh ftp://download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/fedora/linux/releases/11/Fedora/i386/os/Packages/fedora-release-notes-11.0.0-2.fc11.noarch.rpm

With that done, the next step was to do the upgrade.  Except it didn’t work.  I kept getting “Error: Cannot find a valid baseurl for repo: fedora”.  Afer a bit of Googling, I found the answer.  In /etc/yum.repos.d/fedora*repo, I had to uncomment the baseurl line.  So then I think I’m on my way, but now when I try the upgrade, ntp complains about libcrypto.  So I remove the ntp package (I didn’t really need that either, so long as I keep ntpdate installed).  Okay, now we’re good right?  No!  Now yum complains “YumRepo Error: All mirror URLs are not using ftp, http[s] or file.”

I couldn’t find much help in a Google search, so I started poking around.  The .repo file in /etc/yum.repos.d/ has a mirrorlist setting, which tells yum what the mirrors are.  I copied and pasted the URL into my web browser to verify that I could get it.  I could, and it is just a plain text listing of mirrors.  That’s when I noticed that the mirrorlist.txt in /var/cache/yum/{fedora,updates}/ was not in plain text but in XML.  So I removed the two mirrorlist files and replaced them with what I had grabbed off the web.

Finally, yum was happy to perform the upgrade.  It took a while because of all the packages that needed to be downloaded.  I actually had to run `yum upgrade` a few times because some of the packages couldn’t be downloaded.  I presume it’s because there were a lot of other people pounding on the servers.  After a reboot, everything came back happy and it was time to move on to my main desktop.

Having done this once before, I was armed with the knowledge of what to do when things didn’t go well.  And things went about as not-well as they had on the first machine.  I was able to get myself to the upgrade stage very quickly this time around, but that’s where I started having problems.  Because this machine is used as a desktop, it has a lot more stuff installed.  Doing a straight `yum upgrade` ended up requiring more space in /var than I had available.  Of course, I didn’t think to check first and it was about 90% of the way through downloading packages before it ran out of space.  So after cleaning up the last attempt, I ran `yum groupupdate Base` to get the core packages, and when that was done `yum upgrade` was small enough to work within the limits of my disk space.

So I’ve done this a few times now, and it’s never worked perfectly, but it’s always been quite manageable.  Considering that upgrading via yum is not officially supported, it works fairly reliably.  The advantages are that there’s little downtime required, and you don’t need to waste a DVD.  Upgrading via yum will continue to be my preferred method, and I’ll dink around after the rush of downloads have settled down and see if that fixes some of the issues.  If not, that’s what Bugzilla is for.

So what do I think of Fedora 11?  It’s hard to say so far.  My desktop is old enough that it can be a bit sluggish to use, and since I haven’t had much spare time lately, I’ve opted to use my MacBook Pro when I need to accomplish things.  If nothing else, KDE 4 has grown on me to the point where I actually like it.

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