[nSLUG] Upgrade tools, or... (choosing a new distribution)

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Tue Sep 11 09:17:23 ADT 2007

On 9/11/07, David Potter <dlpotter at ns.sympatico.ca> wrote:

> It looks like I can attend the Software Freedom Install Fest Saturday
> and I'm ready for either a new distribution or a new update strategy, a
> few tips...
> I've been comfortably using Red Hat/Fedora for several years and for a
> while I seemed to be able to update the entire distribution by
> specifying the new/desired release in yum.conf and using yum -upgrade
> The last time I tried, yum got both constipated by dependencies and
> tongue tied and couldn't actually tell me what was wrong. In the end I
> simply left the old distribution in place.
> With yum/rpm I always seemed to be working at the bottom of the
> dependency chain, or presented with several dependency issues without a
> clear sense of what to solve first.
> Is there a distribution with a better/less frustrating update/upgrade
> tool - or is there a better upgrade tool for Fedora?

I'm stuck with Red Hat because our mission-critical apps use it.  The nature
of Fedora (bleeding edge moving towards a stable new RH release) means
upgrade is not reliable, so if you use Fedora you need to have a configuration
that allows you to do a fresh install -- mainly you need home in a separate
partition, but it is nice to have space for a couple root partitions so you can
go back to the previous version if something doesn't work in the new one.

I suspect many of the problems with Fedora upgrades have two causes:
1) early Fedora releases are often riddled with bugs, and 2) things installed
without using the package manager.   If you want to upgrade Fedora, remove
all but a very basic configuration (you are going to have to reinstall
anyway, and this makes the install much faster as there is less dependency
checking to be done.

I also have debian on one machine and can confirm what others have found --
debian is much more likely to support upgrading.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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