Ubuntu 13.10 – Saucy Salamander Upgrade


saucyLast week, Ubuntu started pestering me about upgrading from 13.04 to 13.10.  While I should have know better, I elected to go ahead and perform the upgrade.  Not that it’s out of the question for me to run on the bloody, razor’s edge, I just made a couple errors in judgement that cost me a few hours of shop time.

My first mistake was not having a backup.  I use Ubuntu One and Dropbox to store off my important data so if the OS tanks, oh well.  It would be a pain in the ass, but I could get through it.  What I didn’t expect was that this would actually happen since the upgrade from 12.04 to 13.04 was flawless.  So, no system-wide, disaster recovery, monkeys ARE flying out of your butt backups.

The second error was basing this upgrade success on the last upgrade.  While it’s only been a few months, a secret squirrel is capable of jacking up a build within one cycle.  I’m a software engineer.  I know these things.  Hell, I’ve DONE these things.  Bah… what could go wrong, aye?

So, I started out getting the notice to upgrade which I eagerly confirmed.  I got the normal, mentions about breaking your stuff, back up your stuff, the moon is made of cheese disclaimers.  Blah…. waving them off with a deft click of the mouse, I continued into Saucy Nerdvana…

Just as a matter of conversion, when an upgrade notice tells you NOT to turn off your machine, they mean it.  No foolin, here.  It’s going to cause problems.  The moon will become a ball of Nachos!

About half way through the multi-hour upgrade, my machine started twitching.  Error in Judgement #3.  I should have found another machine to work on while the upgrade finished.  But I was being a little lazy and about to be paid for sloth.  The OS suddenly twitched, pitched, then switched.  Finally it locked up then shut off.  Technically, I did not turn off the power but I probably pissed it off somehow.

I attempted to boot it back up and got to my Grub menu but not much further.  The boot process ended with a black screen and a fully functional mouse.  This would have been cool in 1972 but it just sucked for 2013.  I tried some vain attempts at repair but nothing worked.  It was dead, Jim.

My hope was that I could install a fresh copy of 13.10 on top and everything would be fine.  So I downloaded the latest version and burned it to a DVD.  I then booted off it and started the install process.  I was warned that all my programs would be going to heaven by everything under my home directory would be fine.  So, when prompted, I put in my username and password, then sent the install off to do it’s thing.

After a while, it finished and I rebooted.  I added my username and password into the login form and…. nothing… Whaaaa?

It turns out that Ubuntu assigned a new ID to my user account.  So, even though the username and password were the same, I was not allowed access.  Luckily, I was able to switch into the terminal (CTRL + ALT + F6).  I was able to log in here and then via sudo, chown my home directory to my new user account.

Then I spent about 4 hours reinstalling the apps that I really, really needed.  Had I not put in my actual username and password, I suspect that my creds would still have worked without issue (since I was able to log in with my secret squirrel account).

So, in the end, I got to keep all my important stuff and do a little Fall cleaning of crap that has been accumulating.  But it should have been easier that that.  No fault of Ubuntu’s.  I simply got lazy and didn’t follow my own rules.

So, now I have had my 5-year computer epic fail moment, which usually gets me back on the straight and narrow.  I’ll probably be waiting for v14.10 before I upgrade again, staying on version behind, like usual and running backups like I should.

But then again, where would the fun be in that…

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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.