Upgrading my home PC to Fedora Core 2 proved to be the most troubled Linux upgrading I ever did. It’s likely I started with the wrong foot, but things got worse and worse during the way. It all began quite innocently with my decision of not reformatting Linux partitions. Well it’s just laziness since I didn’t want to backup my personal data. Laziness sometimes can be a virtue… not this time.
The second mistake was to instruct Fedora installer to ‘Install’ instead of ‘Upgrade’. My intention was good, I meant – get rid of all the old configuration, install a brand new system. Unfortunately the installer speaks another language and it understood something like: install the new system, but keep the old one altogether.
The resulting mess was a system in which most of the packages were duplicated, one FC2 version and one RH9 version. Oddly enough files weren’t duplicated… I mean the files on the disk replaced the old ones.
Configuration files were a mess, sometimes the new version was installed, in other cases just the opposite. To FC2 credit I have to state that no configuration was lost and all the conflicts were reported in the install.log.
I started to wipe out all the old packages by ‘rpm -e’ them by hand one at time. Luckily the system wasn’t too picky on the dependencies for these obsoleted packages and let me remove them quite freely.
Then I turned to configuration files and tried to merge them in a sensible result. The system seemed to react fine, but it was only appearance. At the first reboot the X system didn’t come up.
Logging in the text console I discovered that X-related programs weren’t able to find their shared libraries. A quick check confirmed me that the libraries were still in their place, so the problem had to be in the search for shared libraries.
This pointed me to /etc/ld.so.conf and ldconfig. The configuration file turned out to be empty… likely either I deleted inadvertently the content during my merge, or the system regenerated it (empty) for some reason. Anyway I filled in the X lib directories and gnome came to life again.
So far so good. The mail and spamassassin configuration seemed fine, and I was able to receive and send mails. I get through fedorafaq and applied all the enhancements listed (java, mozilla/java plugin, macromedia flash plugin, mp3, pdf).
Anyway the system proved to be still somewhat broken, since when I plugged in my USB disk, FC2 ignored it. I ran usbview to check the usb bus, but usbview wasn’t unable to find anything since the usbdevfs was missing. Apparently something in the kernel or kernel configuration was broken. The situation didn’t solve even after I downloaded and installed the NVidia NForce drivers.
That’s all… Likely I would have spent less time by reinstalling everything at the first sign of troubles. And I think this will be the way I go. Nonetheless all this problem solving is a good exercise. (Not clear for what, but a good exercise for sure 🙂 ).