[Beowulf] A press release

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Fri Jul 4 13:24:51 EDT 2008

On Fri, 4 Jul 2008, Geoff Galitz wrote:

> Just a nit:
> Most RPM based distros allow in-place upgrades between minor point releases
> using "yum update" or "yum upgrade" (they follow different rules on how to
> resolve obsolete packages).  However, moving between major releases is still
> recommended via a CD or other non-in-place media, though there are people
> that have done it in-place you seriously risk inflicting harm to your system
> in this manner.

Sure, although I've done it (actually, there are a LOT of people that
have done it) and I've never heard of anybody actually screwing
everything up.

To some extent it depends on how the system was managed and how serious
the changes are between major releases.  If you installed a "standard"
system and used only yum to install and update from a standard set of
repos, then you have almost certainly avoided RPM hell and have a very
high chance of succeeding with an upgrade, with of course some work
likely to be required deciding what to do when packages disappear or
major libraries move.  That work is required for ANY system --
independent of packaging or manager -- when major libraries change and
packages disappear and new tools appear.  Installing from scratch simply
ensures that the tools that are installed are consistent, but it still
leaves one dealing with the your favorite one that has disappeared or
the new one that you have to figure out or your favorite personal
program that has to be rebuilt and maybe even hacked first to accomodate
an new library interface.

If, on the other hand, you installed your system, then built eighteen
pieces of software on your own and installed them, overwriting libraries
and configuration files that were installed from RPM, do a couple of rpm
--force's, and manage in the process to move yourself deep into RPM
hell, well, what is going to be able to safely upgrade that?

I tend to reinstall upgrades most of the time instead of upgrade, but
that's only because kickstart makes that so easy that it is actually
faster AND safer than screwing around with a local upgrade, and sure,
there is the possibility of trouble if you do it otherwise, and who
likes trouble (even if you've never heard of anybody who has actually
HAD trouble).


> Geoff Galitz
> Blankenheim NRW, Deutschland
> http://www.galitz.org
>  _____
> From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On
> Behalf Of Gregory Warnes
> Sent: Mittwoch, 2. Juli 2008 02:50
> To: Mark Hahn
> Cc: Beowulf
> Subject: Re: [Beowulf] A press release
>            [stuff snipped]
> Side note, one very nice thing about debian is the ability to upgrade a
> system in-place from one O/S  release to another via
>    apt-get dist-upgrade
> Much nicer than reinstalling the O/S as seems to be (used to be?) the norm
> with RPM-based systems
> -Greg

Robert G. Brown                            Phone(cell): 1-919-280-8443
Duke University Physics Dept, Box 90305
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Web: http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb
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