Get off my lawn.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Condition upgraded to "Edgy"

I am an Ubuntu fanboy. Well, not exactly that, but I use it, and like it. I have two machines here, both configured with Dapper (the previous release of Ubuntu), and I like what they do for me.

"Edgy", the latest release, came out a week or so ago, and I had been reading about a lot of problems with people upgrading from Dapper to Edgy. Both of my machines are in regular use doing highly-important things (development, e-mail, Tetris), so I wasn't excited about the prospect of having one of them go down because of a botched upgrade. On the other hand, I wasn't excited about installing from scratch and going through the 3-4 day process of getting everything configured the way I like it, either.

Undecided about what to do, I did the only logical thing and upgraded one of the machines after a backup. My setup isn't esoteric or anything, so I felt like I had a reasonable chance of pulling an upgrade off with no problems.

So, I stuck the CD-ROM in and ran the upgrade off of that (rather than upgrading via apt-get, an approach not recommended by Ubuntu's maker).

The upgrade process went smoothly; The machine sat here for about 3 hours, downloading 2-3GB of software, configuring this and that. Occasionally, it would ask me if I wanted to overwrite a configuration file or something.

At the very end of the process, it popped up an error message: "Installation aborts. You should reboot." Crap. I rebooted. The machine came up without any errors, and the splash screen looked really nice. It seemed a little slow once it got going, so I looked around and found that it was running on a 386 kernel instead of the 686 kernel it's supposed to have. I rebooted again, and picked the 686 kernel. It wouldn't boot. I booted into "recovery mode", and found that it was stopping when it couldn't find a file named /etc/mdadm/mdadm.conf. Rebooted again, checked, the file was there, tried again, locked up, etc.

Finally, I used my other machine to look up the problem. Mdadm is used for RAID systems, which I don't have. I found a forum where someone found a command you can run to regenerate the 686 kernel. I ran that, and it started without any errors. So now it's running, it doesn't seem to have any problems, it looks nice, and I survived the upgrade.

But the moral of the story, as always, is: If you're going to install Linux on a machine, make sure you have another machine around so you can look up solutions to the problems you're going to have.


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