Sunday, October 20, 2013

An almost-painless OS upgrade: OpenSUSE 12.3

I must be prone to bouts of gratuitous optimism, because this upgrade had its rough spots.

Getting the download image was easy enough. Went to the OpenSUSE website and downloaded it. ("It" here means the 32-bit DVD image.) I used an ancient powerbook to burn a DVD, as my old DVD writer stopped working some time back. I slid the DVD into the drive on this old IBM lease return I got a few years ago for $150 or whatever. It's got 1GB of RAM and a 32-bit P4 processor (bogomips : 6384.75).

It booted fine, with speed what you'd expect from an optical drive. But it took the longest time to probe disk drives and to find Linux partitions. Some time (an hour?) later, there was an error message... I suspected too many retries on the DVD reader.

Fine. Made a bootable USB drive following these instructions and booted it.

Well, it still took too long (IMO) to probe disk drives and find Linux partitions; in fact I gave up once, powered the box down and disconnected the DVD drive cable because I suspected it was goofing things up. It still took an awfully long time (literally hours) but finally I got to the place where it asked me if I wanted to continue.

I clicked the Next button, and then... installation just hung while updating the boot configuration. Huh? The lovely Carol was out, so I slid my chair to her computer and did a web search on "opensuse installation hangs" which landed me here, which included this:

are you sure you are not running out of disk space? (sorry, i know you
are probably have plenty of room, but what partitioning scheme did you
elect to use...that is: is /tmp on its own partition and is it REALLY
REALLY big?)
Whoa! ctl-alt-f2 and "df" -- my root partition was like 93% full. Ouch!

Freed up some space, and things started moving again. Whew! I was working on a shell script for the lovely Carol, and the next time I looked at my Linux box, there was the login screen. Yippee! I typed my login and password and... can't find home directory. Dang!

My homedir is NFS mounted; more than that, it's automounted. So I asked if nfs was running. Yes, but NFS whined at me: "portmap/rpcbind" was not running. OK, chkconfig portmap but apparently OpenSUSE doesn't use "portmap" any more.

$ chkconfig portmap
portmap: unknown service
$ chkconfig rpcbind
rpcbind  off
O...kay. I started rpcbind, and now nfs was happy. Was automounter running? You guessed it. So I said "chkconfig autofs" and of course it was off.

Enabled that, explicitly started it (going Neanderthal, I typed
$ /etc/init.d/autofs start
then alt-f7 back to the X11 screen, logged out and back in and... voilà! all was good.

I ejected the USB stick (which by now was /dev/sdb) and rebooted, and things pretty much worked. Google-chrome (upon which I'm typing this post) didn't, though; library incompatibility. I downloaded a new RPM, then
$ sudo rpm -Uvh Downloads/google-chrome-stable_current_i386
and after a few minutes (it had to delete the previous version) that was working too.

But wait; there's more!

I decided to try to get mail(1) working. xhost +; sudo yast2 and said I had a permanent connection to the mail server. Then I typed something like
date|mail -s test
and messages like these appeared:
postdrop: warning: mail_queue_enter: create file maildrop/856011.3977: Permission denied
postdrop: warning: mail_queue_enter: create file maildrop/856204.3977: Permission denied
postdrop: warning: mail_queue_enter: create file maildrop/856417.3977: Permission denied
postdrop: warning: mail_queue_enter: create file maildrop/856738.3977: Permission denied
postdrop: warning: mail_queue_enter: create file maildrop/857467.3977: Permission denied
…and just kept coming. A web search led me to a couple of helpful links: And now I've got working mail too.

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