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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Tue, 09 Jul 2013

Fedora 18 to 19 upgrade with fedup: It's alive!

(Click the image for a full-size look at my admittedly vanilla Fedora 19 Xfce desktop)

Update: A preliminary test revealed that my fedup problems were networking-related. I'll try again with my home network tonight.

Further update: My home network was amenable to fedup. It wasn't pretty; the fedup process needs work. But it did work, and not only do I have a working Fedora 19 installation, I now have the AMD Catalyst 13.6 beta video driver via RPM Fusion, and my 3D acceleration problems with my new AMD APU have been solved.

Even further update: With the AMD Catalyst 13.6 beta video driver from RPM Fusion, I'm lacking the small lines on either side of my application windows, but I do have 3D acceleration, and -- more importantly -- for the first time in Linux on this laptop, I now have working suspend/resume, which you'll have to pry from my cold, dead hands.

A still further update: This bug report appears to address the lack of those small lines on the sides of windows.

Here I begin.

After a shaky start with Fedora's fedup update tool to bring my Fedora 18 with Xfce system to Fedora 19, I did manage to successfully upgrade my HP Pavilion g6-2210us (with AMD A4-4300M APU, which features AMD Radeon HD 7420G graphics).

After a curl error on my work network, I started the process on my much slower home network, quickly bypassed the error and started on the slow process of downloading 1,800+ packages.

The download process went through the night -- at least eight hours -- and continued in the morning. Besides the Fedora repositories, I have quite a bit of software from RPM Fusion, so that made everything take that much longer.

There's a problem with the Dropbox repo, since Dropbox hasn't created a /19/ version (or directory) yet. I ended up changing the name of dropbox.repo in /etc/yum.repos.d/ to dropbox.broken. And now yum and Yumex safely ignores it. Eventually I'll change the name back to .repo and see if Dropbox has gotten it together for Fedora users.

A few Fedora 18 packages don't have Fedora 19 equivalents. But that's OK. Everything seems to be working.

The process took a long time, and for most of it I had no idea how much time -- or how many tasks -- were ahead of me. Fedup has a long way to go in terms of its user interface. But it does work.

Once the packages were downloaded and I rebooted into what would become the fedup upgrade process, I was in for another wait -- it was at least an hour, probably longer -- before I could boot into the fully upgraded Fedora 19.

But boot into it I did. Once I figured out the Dropbox repo situation (as I said, I pretty much commented it out by changing its .repo suffix) I thought I'd look to see if the AMD Catalyst video driver situation had changed in RPM Fusion.

Before now, only the Catalyst 13.4 driver seemed to be available in packaged format. And as I've written many times, I will NEVER again use the Catalyst/fglrx driver direct from AMD. There's too much that can go wrong.

So I went into Yumex (a graphical front end for yum that I really, really like) and searched for Catalyst. I was surprised to find a package for the 13.6 beta driver ready to install. And so I did.

I rebooted, and everything looks great. I've been running Xfce for the last couple of months because without working 3D acceleration I can't run GNOME 3.8 at all. I immediately tested 3D by running a game that requires it.

Almost-perfect video. About the only problem I see are the lack of dark links on the sides of application windows. I removed Catalyst temporarily, and it is indeed causing this small display problem (though it may be due to this bug. But it's a very, very small price to pay for working 3D and -- as I just discovered -- working suspend/resume in Linux for the first time in my history of using this laptop.

While I'm very happy to have artifact-free 3D video, I don't see myself installing GNOME at the moment. Xfce has been working too well during my time in Fedora 18. I get work done, and I enjoy the desktop environment. In case you are wondering, it's the same Xfce -- version 4.10 -- in both F18 and F19. There isn't a new stable release of Xfce, unless I haven't heard about it.

Now my occasional artifacts in Xfce should be gone for good, and if I wanted to run GNOME 3.8.x, I absolutely could.

All I have to do now is watch for Catalyst 3.6 to go stable and make sure I can stick with it rather than riding the next beta.

You can't see it in the screenshot above, but there's a small overlay in the lower right corner of the screen that says "AMD Testing use only." That's a nice reminder.

I'd prefer to run the free Radeon driver. It's easier to do. I'll keep my eye on it and keep trying live media with future releases.

But I'm extremely happy to solve my video issues on this new hardware. Probably the biggest change will be working suspend/resume. I grew to rely on it on my Lenovo G555 running Debian, and I'm extremely happy to have it back on the HP Pavilion g6.

Speaking of new hardware, it's the reason I turned to Fedora, as I have before in this same situation. You do get cutting-edge everything. Applications? I can live with slightly older versions. But when I'm having trouble with new hardware and kernels and drivers, Fedora is a great way to get up and running.

Thanks to all involved in the Fedora Project for providing such a surprisingly stable distribution, even with so many new bits. And thanks to everybody who contributes the naughty bits to RPM Fusion that I'm using to round out this laptop's multimedia-centered system.

Here is my original, NOW OBSOLETE entry, which I retain for the permanent record:

I figured I'd upgrade my Fedora 18 system to Fedora 19 using the newish fedup tool:

$ sudo fedup --network 19

But I get this error:

getting boot images...

Downloading failed: couldn't get boot images: curl#22 - "The requested URL returned error: 404 Not Found"

After a Google search, neither of these page helped:

There's a possibility that this is a networking issue on my part (I'm on a network with a lot of things locked down for no good reason).

I'll try again on my home network and revise this entry as warranted.