Apologies to anyone inconvenienced by our extended outages
on Friday, but the blog is now coming to you via
the latest version of my Linux distribution, Fedora 7.
Fedora 7 came out May 31. And the call of a new version summons
me, much like the tantalizing song of the siren tempts
the sailor, sometimes with the same results.
But this turned out OK. Random notes follow.
There is a "live CD" of Fedora 7, but you can't upgrade an
existing machine from that, as near as I could tell. (I didn't
look very hard, and may have missed it.) The full distribution
is available on a 3-Gig DVD image only; no more burning of multiple CDs
(good), but … oh, right … this machine only has a CD
Well, no problem, or at least not a big one, to those of us with
access to other web servers. I uploaded the DVD image, mounted it,
set up a symlink to the mount point in the webroot, and voila, we're
off to the races. You still need something to boot your target system
with, but the DVD contains a couple of smaller images you
can copy to a bootable medium, like a CD or USB stick.
Things were going just swell, when I ran into a sudden
and serious stumbling block: the upgrade process refused to
continue because it believed the swap partition was invalid.
("Press any key to reboot", it said helpfully.)
After much anguish, I recalled the following caveat
from the relase
A change in the way that the linux kernel handles storage
devices means that device names like
differ from the values used in earlier releases.
this problem by relying on partition labels. If
these labels are
not present, then Anaconda presents a
warning indicating that
partitions need to be labelled
and that the upgrade can not
Well, obviously, that wouldn't apply to the swap partition,
right? Wrong, it does. (But, in my slight defense, the error message isn't
anything as clear as "You need to label your swap partition, dummy.")
But how do you put a label your swap partition, if it doesn't already
have one? A few seconds with the Google reveals: you just use the
-L option to
# mkswap -L SWAP /dev/hda3
And change the appropriate line in your
LABEL=SWAP swap swap defaults 0 0
Restart the upgrade, and we are sailing once again. This time, things
ran to completion, and—hooray—everything worked right
What of the end result, you ask: was it worth it? Ah, you're missing
the point. For a sysadmin:
- the focus is on the journey, not the destination;
- we're generally pleasantly surprised when anything works at all.
But I'll answer anyway: Fedora 7 is more evolutionary than
revolutionary. Many installed packages are in their latest and
greatest revisions. (Firefox 2, for example, replaces Firefox 1.5, and
that's especially nice.) There's another marginal improvement in font
legibility, welcome for my aging eyes. And the undersea-DNA theme from
Fedora Core 6 has been replaced with hot air baloons!
But generally, I'm not a professional reviewer, I don't crawl up
and down feature lists, and (as noted above), as long as I have a
basically-working environment with Perl, a web browser, and terminal
windows, I'm pretty satisfied. (And, of course, a working web server
for you kind readers.)
Previous adventures of Linux Boy: the
Fedora Core 6 Upgrade
and the relatively rocky Fedora
Core 5 Upgrade.