RH8 -> FC2

So my programming job is becoming more of a sysadmin job lately, which is cool, because I love sysadmin type stuff.  One of the things I’m working on is a unified backup scheme to backup our Linux servers, Mac OS9 and OSX servers and workstations, and Windows 2000/XP workstations.  This is actually fairly straightforward if you can manage to get rsync installed on all the machines, and get your local network punk admin to open port 873 on all the clients.  Linux and OSX already have rsync, and there’s a nice free version for Windows called cwRsync too.  Then it’s just a matter of mounting the OS9 systems’ drives on the OSX machines, and you’ve got them all covered.

Also straightforward is the destination for all the backups: just buy a nice 500GB external firewire hard drive and you’re all set.  Erm... until you hook it up and realize that your backup server is Red Hat Linux 8 running an ancient kernel, and by ancient I mean 2.4.backWhenFirwireWasStillExperimental.  Sure, the firewire modules will load, and you can partition your shiny new backup drive, but the whole system hardlocks after you transfer a little data to it.

A kernel upgrade would solve the problem.  But in the Changes file distributed with each kernel, there’s a list of about 15 dependencies (make, binutils, etc) and their required versions.  I would have had to upgrade more than half of them before I could install the new kernel.  And as I’ve said before, manually upgrading dependencies on a Linux system is a real pain.

So I decided to try installing yum.  Yum is the package manager used by Fedora Linux, and since Fedora is basically the new version of Red Hat, I thought maybe I’d be able to install it and have it automatically take care of the hassle of upgrading all those dependencies.  It installed OK, but didn’t run quite right, so I asked my friendly neighborhood Fedora guru (that would be Kev) for some help.

It turns out that you can actually upgrade a Red Hat 8 system to Fedora Core 2 quite simply.  All I had to do was:

1. Install yum, but I already did that.
2. rpm -Uvh fedora-release-2-4.i386.rpm
3. Replace the default /etc/yum.conf with Kev’s
4. yum -y upgrade

Step 4 gave me some trouble at first (something about an unresolvable interdependency between glibc and glibc-common), but I tried it again the next day or so, and it downloaded some new headers which must have cleared things up.  It installed/updated a few thousand packages automatically, and before I knew it, my Red Hat box was a Fedora box : )

Extra super thanks to Kev for helping me through this.  Though I later found out that at least one website explains this process, I would never have guessed it was even possible, so I didn’t look for it.

Anyway, all I was after was a kernel upgrade, but I had actually been talking with the guys at work about getting this old box upgraded to either Fedora or Gentoo... and now it’s done.  I’m very happy.  And now I have some peace of mind knowing that the data around our lab and the others we administer is actually backed up.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply


01. Sep 17, 2004 at 09:52am by Kev:

Extra super thanks to Kev for helping me through this.
You’re welcome!

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