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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.

Fri, 11 May 2018

The Fedora 28 upgrade broke my F27 system, and I reinstalled F28 to 'save' it

It's never a good idea to upgrade a Fedora system in the first couple of weeks. Also, my particular Fedora installation is, for lack of a better word, crufty. I can't remember which version of Fedora it started out with, but I've been running Fedora on it since 2012.

That's a lot of Fedoras.

I don't use that laptop very much these days, but I decided to do the upgrade anyway. The F28 upgrade wouldn't proceed due to various conflicts in the packages. I did a sudo dnf autoremove, then I manually removed the rest of the offending packages, none of which looked so critical that they would break the installation.

But break it did. The Fedora partition wouldn't boot. I didn't even get dumped into GRUB. I couldn't get past the MOK screen -- something I've never even seen before. I tried one of the "rescue" ISOs, and that didn't work. The laptop's complaint was about keys being trusted, and the fact that I had Secure Boot turned off didn't seem to matter. I "enrolled" all the keys/hashes I could find. Still nothing.

Like I said, the system was crufty. I had a pretty good backup of the files, so whatever happened wouldn't really hurt my data.

I decided to reinstall but keep the same partition layout and preserve the /home partition/directory.

I didn't mention that I use encrypted LVM (both in Fedora and Debian). Even so I could have pulled the drive, dropped it into a USB plug-in holder and gotten the files off that way. But I wanted to see if I could resurrect the Fedora system.

I put F28 on a USB thumb drive and started the installation using manual partitioning. I kept all of my Fedora partitions, root (aka /), /boot, /home, and /swap. It was fairly easy to do this. The only "stopper" was the root partition. It wouldn't "go into" the "Fedora is going to use this" part of the installer. Eventually I figured out that it was because I had to check the "erase this partition" box. Then it skipped over with the rest of the partitions. I started my Fedora install -- I opted for the standard Fedora Workstation with GNOME -- and soon enough I had a new, mostly cruft-less Fedora system. I had to re-create my user account and set the password, but all of my files and most of my configuration was still there. I'm missing a lot of packages, but I had a thicket of desktop environments, useless (to me) applications, programming languages and other things that I could either do without or easily build back up.

All the files were there.

tl;dr: I would have preferred to perform a successful "rescue" operation on my broken Fedora boot system, but that didn't happen, so I did the next best thing, which was to reinstall Fedora and restore my system to bootable status that way.