Fedora Core 5 to Fedora Core 9!

Wow! That was… unexpected!

After a LONG time of not upgrading my site’s operating system, various initiatives I am undertaking required me to update from Fedora Core 5 (released March 20, 2006) to Fedora Core 9 (released May 13, 2008).

I was very nervous about this upgrade since it spanned so many versions of the operating system, but I started out with high hopes. I backed up my system to DVD using MondoArchive, an excellent bare-metal backup solution. Then, I inserted the Fedora Core 9 DVD, rebooted, and started the upgrade proceedure only to be told that one of my drives was a bit short of space (249 megs, to be exact).

The solution ended up being repartioning-in-place using a great product from Acronis which handled all the heavy lifting of the non-destructive repartition for me. I repartitioned the particular drive to a size large enough to make sure this particular problem will never surface again.

Launching the Fedora Core 9 DVD’s upgrade procedure a second time worked, using the newly-widened partition… The installer updated 890 files and rebooted successfully (I was worried about it rebooting successfully!)

However, that’s when I ran into two things… First, the webserver failed to launch because of a configuration error. Secondly, I ran into a time limit and we had to leave for dinner with friends. So, the site was down for a few hours while we enjoyed a very nice meal and evening with Brian, Milan, and Erin.

We came home, went to bed, and I was lying awake thinking of how to address the issues on the server. Next thing I knew, my feet carried me in to the server room and I started tinkering. An hour later (and about 10 minutes ago), I got the site online at last. But there is still more tweaking and testing to do… I need to ensure that the changes I made manually that got the site online will “stick” after the server is rebooted, which I will attempt to do after posting this article.

It was immediately apparent that the new operating system is considerably faster than the old one. Cold-booting takes less than 40 seconds on Fedora Core 9. I’m not sure how long it took on Fedora Core 5, but I know it was longer.

I apologize for the downtime, but it was necessary, and moving forward should be considerably smoother from now on. There is still a fair amount to do — applying non-critical patches & upgrades to the system and then another comprehensive backup, but being back online is enough for tonight.

UPDATE: Rebooting works… mostly. After rebooting, I need to enter “dhclient eth0”, “tzoupdate” and “service httpd start” to get things rolling properly. I need to determine how to automate those steps so the system reboots to an online state.

UPDATE 2: I’ve got the system configured properly now, so it boots into an online state.

Comprehensive System Backup

Last night, I performed a comprehensive backup of this server since it’s running well after the upgrade (thanks Rabbitt!). I used Mondo for the backup. This morning I burned the backup to DVD and spent about 30 minutes verfying the backup. The site was unavailable during that time, but is (obviously) back up now.

DINNER 204: Sunday, July 23, 2006

What a strange day today was! Wendy & I decided we wanted to try to see LADY IN THE WATER and even made some tentative plans with Angel to go see it. We were going to try to make the 1:40 showing, but we started to hear the sounds of …something… angry in our attic. For the past week or so, we’ve been dealing with racoons in our attic, and it sounded like one had fallen into a wall and was scrabbling to get out, so we called Mike, our pest control man, who came to the house at 3:00.

He & Wendy went into the attic and all over the house to try and rescue this little critter. After much effort, sweat, and blood, they managed to pull out of the wall a young female racoon who was, in fact, stuck. She was angry as anything, but very much alive when Mike pulled her out a couple hours after they’d started working.

During that time, I worked on upgrading this webserver from Fedora Core 4 to Fedora Core 5. With the help of a few folks (Richtroye, Zerberus, Jhutchins, Matt_T, and Plugh) from the #fedora IRC room who generously spent their time (several hours) diagnosing, testing, and suggesting changes, it finally worked. I was able to upgrade to Fedora Core 5, something I’d been trying to do since it was released in March of 2006. However, there is still work to be done. The webserver was a challenge to get functioning again (there was a cache issue that prevented pages from displaying) but it’s up. Email and a couple other things still need to be fixed, but we’re very close.

We never made it to the movie, which is just as well because Angel wasn’t feeling too well, and I needed to complete the upgrade as much as possible. Dinner was ordered in from LaRosa’s. Wendy had a deli cibatta and I had a steak hoagie. We split a salad, then it was back to the terminal for me. I finally finished up around 12:30am.

FEDORA CORE 5 released

I noticed recently that FEDORA CORE 5 has been released. We’ve been running FEDORA CORE as the Linux-based operating system of this webserver for many years. I am looking forward to upgrading to FEDORA CORE 5, but it took some time to download and burn the 3 gigabyte DVD. I then had to verify the burn (which was fine), which also took some time.


Then, I launched the webserver from the DVD and answered a few questions. It then seemed to hang at the “Retrieving System Information” prompt… I waited about 7 minutes before giving up and rebooting back into FEDORA CORE 4. I just don’t have time to worry about it now, and it’s running well as it is. Once my show is over, I’ll work on upgrading.