One of the most important aspects of computer software, is it’s ability
to dynamically evolve with little impact on the end user. There are
many different layers that exist in computer systems and computer
networks, from the kernel and supporting libraries to the higher-level
programming language support and desktop applications. These are
the various layers of software that provide all of the functionality
that we use … from the initial boot-up of a computer to the core
services and applications for browsing the web or accessing
e-mail. All of this software, and all of these layers, continue
to evolve … and what is the impact to the end user?
I learned early on, while at Novell, that upgrades and migrations are
two of the most costly projects that an IT department, or small
business, can take on. Software architects are now making more
and more efforts to ensure that software can be updated and upgraded.
Back in late 2001, we began the deployment of our 80211.net
wireless network. Back then we started by using Red Hat v7.2 as
the platform for our Internet Cafe’s. Now we are moving on to
Fedora Core 1 and 2. One of our first locations had some problems
this last weekend, and I suspected that some of the older application
had some “denial of service” issues that had to be resolved. I
had the opportunity today to experience the upgrade process from Red
Hat v7.2 to Fedora Core 1 … and was pleased with what I experienced!
I was going to do a completely new installation until the Fedora Core 1
install program offered the upgrade choice. I thought about it
for a while … and chose to try the upgrade. There were some
issues that I ran into … but overall I’m pleased and will be
deploying the server tomorrow.
The first issue that I didn’t like, was that after choosing to upgrade,
I didn’t get any opportunity to choose the packages that were going to
be installed on during the upgrade process. My “stripped down”
server now has a lot more than I ever wanted on it. I’ll begin
the process of removing and disabling many of these over the next week
The second issue that I ran into is more related to the Compaq computer
that I am running. I have never liked Compaq gear, and today’s
experience only added to my continued disappointment with their
products. Upon rebooting the machine, kudzu complained about a
missing Compaq network card … the one on the motherboard … and then
immediately reported detecting a new one. I went through the
process of removing and re-installing the network card … only to have
to do this again and again. I finally told kudzu to ignore the
changes … and it’s working. I’m not sure why kudzu kept
thinking this is a new card … the other adapter – from Intel – never
had a problem.
The third issue that I had was doing the initial ‘up2date’
update. When I ran it, up2date complained about unresolvable
dependencies an old version of perl-NDBM_File, and an old version
of mozilla. The mozilla requirement was for Galeon … a
browser for Gnome that I was not using. I uninstalled the galeon
rpm and that problem went away. I then found a reported bug about
the perl dependency and manually upgraded the new perl-NDBM_File
package … which then allowed perl to be updated.
The final issues were all small configuration issues … like updating
the dhcpd.conf file to include some new directives. In all … it
was a very smooth upgrade.
I am about to deploy my new Fedora Core 1 server to see how things go
… but after a quick set of tests earlier today I am confident that
the Linux update/upgrade was a success. We’ll see …