Declaring the Migration a Failure

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There are three problems with using the upgrade process to migrate architecture. First, the upgrade process looks at the software packages (called RPMs) installed on the system, the ones in the upgrade distribution, finds the ones on the system that are out-of-date, and replaces them. I run frequent updates on this system, so many of the packages on the system were newer than those on the upgrade media, so they weren't upgraded. This means the 32-bit version on disk was never replaced with the 64-bit version in the distribution.

The second problem is that the upgrade never told the yum automatic update mechanism that the architecture changed. Thus when I ran yum to fetch recently published updates (there have been a lot), it retrieved the 32-bit versions.

Finally, the listing produced by rpm -qa showed that many packages were installed multiple times, sometimes with the same version number. I don't know what caused that, and I don't know if it's related to the architecture change (as opposed to a more general bug in the update process). At this point, I was ready to throw in the towel.

The more I investigated what the update did to the system, the more I found twisted wreckage. I was able to repair the problems as I found them, but each time a new problem surfaced my confidence would sink. I finally concluded that it would be best to do a re-install from scratch.

The re-install is done. I reformatted my root and var filesystems, preserved everything else, and I'm back in business. Turns out, the Fedora Core 3 release even has a recent versoin of the Mozilla Firefox web browser.

I will have to do a bit of fiddling to get back the system configuration and environment, but it's clear that re-install was the right thing to do.

Comments

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re: Declaring the Migration a Failure

Why Fedora? If you're going to try a new distro, try Ubuntu.
I haven't tried it, but I suspect the migration you tried to do would have been a fair bit easier under a debian-based system.

re: Declaring the Migration a Failure

Ah, sorry, I see you did in fact start from scratch.