Linux Noob: Upgrading From Fedora 14 to Fedora 16


So, today I had enough.  I love linux and all it has to offer but I wanted a shiny bobble to play with, a challenge.  Entertainment.  So, instead of watching another mindless installment of some teenie bopper vampire movie, I decided it was time to hold on to my lugnuts because it was time for an overhaul.

I have been tempted with the prospects of upgrading Fedora 14 but I’ve been way too busy.  Not that today was any different but I felt the spirit move me, so I went for it.

First, I went to  http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/PreUpgrade and follow the instructions for getting PreUpgrade installed:

[muppet@computer ~]#  yum update

[muppet@computer ~]#  yum install preupgrade

[muppet@computer ~]#  preupgrade

I just let this thing run and I have to say I was really amazed at how smoothly the upgrade went.  I kept working away, and about 20 minutes later, it was done.  I rebooted and HOLY COW… shiny bobble.  I had a couple of issues but this could have gone so horrible… but it didn’t.  I tip my hat you you crazy kids at Red Hat.

The two big issues I had were with VirtualBox and Pidgin (using SIPE for communicator).  When I fired up the VBox, it tanked on one of my VMs showing and Exit Message 1. The advanced error showed a NS_ERROR_FAILURE 0x80004005.  Wait a minute… I recognize this error.  It’s the permissions error code I’ve seen in windows… wait… whaaaa?

I did a bit of searching and found a thread on the VirtualBox forums.  A post from “perryg” led to the correct solution (Thank you Perry).

[muppet@computer ~]#   /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup

…and Virtualbox was fixed!  Sweet!

Next, I had to tackle Pidgin… This was a tough nut to crack.  Everything seemed to be correct but I kept getting this crappy SSL error.  Turns out the answer was pretty simple.  in the advanced config, there is an entry for Server/Port.  I checked on my backup machine and put in the config and it started working.  Wow.  that was cool.

So, the only two issues were resolved within a day.  Upgrading to Fedora 16 was really pretty comfortable for me.  Obviously there are a lot of changes… and several things to my configurations but everything works, even my bootloader.  I’m pretty excited about this but since it’s so new, I may have missed a couple of things.  I’ll keep you posted.

3/7/2012 – UPDATE:  Today did not start off well.  When I sat down at my desk, it took over 5 minutes to boot.  I thought the boot actually hung but it finally came back.  So I did a little poking around in the boot.log file and found this:

failed to start LSB: Bring up/down networking

When I saw this, I knew it was gonna suck fixing it.  So after about 3 hours of looking, I found this forum entry from the redhat.com’s bugzilla forum:

After reading this chain several times, it occurred to me that I might be running both the NetworkManger.service and network.service.  I simply entered this in:

[Muppet:Computer ~]# systemctl disable network.service

…and rebooted.  This seems to have fixed that problem.

It appears that my NVidia driver may not be working correctly.  Strange things are afoot, so I will be researching that tonight as well.  More to come…

3/8/3012 UPDATE:  The Jury is In… The upgrade was a bust! 

Well, today I tried to get Gnome3 working and it was a frustrating endeavour. I just felt like I was spinning my wheels and finally, after I had enough, walked away.  When I came back, I had an idea to get this working.  It’s not perfect… after all… I am a noob.

I created another account (adding to the wheel group), then logged out. I logged into the temp account, renamed my home folder, then created a new folder the same name as my account, then deleted my account.  All of this was to I could preserve my home folder contents.  Next I created another account with the same username and password as before.  After double checking the config, I logged out and then back in and… voilà… Success.

Well, now I have to rebuild my interface so I can be productive again but everything seems to be working.  I am actually logging this post via my VirtualBox VM.

So, the moral of the story is… upgrades suck.  Sorta.  I lost my user configs but not my files or the installation (that would have sucked so much more).  Reconfiguring my desktop is a small price to pay.  Plus, it will give me an opportunity to learn all the new, shiny features.  ohhhhhhhh… shiny baaaaaauble.

Linux Noob: Linux and Windows Living Together: A World Gone Mad!


So, I have recently had the experience of puzzling out how to dual boot Linux (FC14) and Windows 7.  Now, if you know what you’re doing this is cake.

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP: INSTALL WINDOWS FIRST!

However, easy isn’t exactly fun or educational.   I initially re-imaged my laptop with 3 partitions:

  • 500MB /boot
  • 4GB /swap
  • the rest-of 500GB-ext4

Whoops!  As you can see, I forgot to account for a Windows partition.   Cue circus music.

So, after I spent considerable time setting up my Linux environment, I realized my mistake.  Not wanting to repeat a week’s worth of work, I started looking for a magically solution.  I will say that you can do incredibly crazy-and dangerous- things in Linux that you would never think of in Windows.  Here is how I was able to researve a 130GB partition and get Windows 7 dual booting.

First, I fired up GParted.  This is the Gnome Partition app.  There are several way to run this.  I chose to use a USB boot device (http://gparted.sourceforge.net/liveusb.php#linux-method-b).  There are several methods to create a bootable USB stick.  I elected to got the manual route.  It is the most straight-forward process and doesn’t have any extraneousness nonsense in the mix.  Once the stick was prepped, I rebooted the laptop and repartitioned the main partition giving me ~130GB (detailed instructions are found at http://gparted.sourceforge.net/).

Next, I tested my work and Linux booted up without issue.  Now for Windows.

I crammed the Windows 7 64bit install DVD in the drive and installed it on the newly created partition.  Once completed.  I had the hotness of Windows 7 running but no Linux.  <sigh>  So, this is where it gets a bit scary for me but it’s really not bad being on the other side of it.

I found an app called SuperGrubDisk to fix the problem.  As you are probably aware, when Windows was installed, it assumed control of the Master Boot Record, disregarding the Grub bootloader.  SGD will allow you to recover your Grub fully intact.  Just download the .iso at http://www.supergrubdisk.org/super-grub-disk/.  They have several products for fixing MBRs but I really only needed SuperGrubDisk1.  Once the disk was burned, I rebooted the machine that loads up SGD and I was greeted with a text menu system (details on this app on on the site).  I followed the instructions, completed my very, scary activities, and then rebooted.  WOOHOO!  Linux is back.

Windows is gone.  Damn.  Well, gone… kind of.  At this point we are just talking about the MBR.  Both OSs are installed and work fine, it’s just a matter of getting access to both of them easily.

So, the next step was to edit the Grub.conf file.  This is found in the /etc directory.

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP: BACK UP YOUR FILE BEFORE MODIFYING

[muppet@computer ~]  cp /etc/grub.conf /etc/grub.conf_orig

Here’s what I did:

Since I have one drive with 4 partitions (3 for Linux and 1 for Windows with Windows being the last one), you refer to the target partition as hd(0,3).

[muppet@computer ~]  sudo gedit /etc/grub.conf

I only had to change 2 things:

  • Timeout setting from 0 to 15
  • Add the windows loader entry at the bottom (after the Linux entries) like this:
title Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate
rootnoverify (hd0,3)
chainloader +1

Finally I saved the file and rebooted the laptop.

Now for the moment of truth.  By now, you would be really miffed if I ended this by saying I roached my box and had to start all over.  I would have been upset too.  The end result was that I got a grub loader message displaying my default OS (FC14) with a 15 sec countdown.  If you hit the ESC key, it will stop the timer and give you all the options.

So, this was an exciting adventure in Linux, being something that I have never done before.  The scary parts were actually repartitioning the drive, reloading the the Grub bootloader, and finally editing the grub.conf file (I once brought a Linux box down to it knees by fooling with the MBR).

FINAL SAFETY TIP: BACK UP YOUR LINUX OS PRIOR TO ATTEMPTING ANY OF THIS.

So there you have it.  A very scary and exciting fix to what could have been a night of reloading.  I hope you found this helpful.  If you would like more details about the partitioning and MBR process, just let me know.

Linux Noob: Accessing Network Resources


Even though my company is technology agnostic, my division runs on a Windows network.  After getting my new Fedora install stabilized, I started moving the network shortcuts I had backed up from Windows 7 to my Windows 7 VBox install.  I also included these in my host browsers so that I would have quick and easy access to my SVN repo, etc.  When I fired up the Windows 7, they worked without issue but I kept getting time-outs in Linux.

Terribly vexed, I wandered over to the Architect’s office and he showed me a way to get this working.  All I needed to do was modify the nsswitch.conf file.  Here’s what I did (as root):

cd /etc
cp nsswitch.conf nsswitch.conf_orig
nano nsswitch.conf

Then I changed the following line from:

 hosts:      files mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] dns

To:

hosts:      db files nisplus nis dns

After that, I tried rebooting my network service but that didn’t work.  After I rebooted, unfettered access to all the goodies was mine again.

 

Linux Noob: A Day in the Life of a Linux Noobie


So, I torched my Windows 7 install a couple weeks ago to embrace Linux (Fedora Core 14).  It’s been two weeks and nothing major liking having to reload the OS (not for lack of trying).  So, it’s been going well enough that I though I would blog about it.

I have done some pretty scary stuff over the last two weeks that has made my hair start to turn white but everything seems to be working out ok.  One thing that I have noticed is that there is a preponderance of information out on the Internet but it typically follows the 80/20 rule.  80% crap (doesn’t apply, doesn’t work, or written by elitist douche bags) and 20% gold.  I will do my very best to provide you with 100% of the 20% (I just made my brain hurt).

In the meantime, if there is something that YOU would like to know about, I probably would too.  I’ll ask around.  I’ll do some legwork and put it up here.  If you know of a better way to do something that I post, let me know.  And if anything that I put up becomes part of the 80%, let me know.

Time to get to work.