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by Troy Dawson last modified 2007-01-09 09:41

Upgrade guide for Fermi Linux v9.0.1

Upgrades are a wonderful things. They allow you to upgrade your machine to the latest release without having to change your settings, or at least not change them very much.
But upgrading is not without it's risks. Although we have done our best to minimize upgrade problems, there is so many different variables, that it is impossible to catch them all. Below is a few of the problem

  • Not being able to log in locally as root after upgrade if you have a .k5login for root
    This is a bug/feature of the kerberos pam module. It has been a bug/feature since RedHat 7.3. In Fermi Linux 7.3.x we change the pam module to remove the feature. In Fermi Linux 9.0.x we left the function in the pam module, and changed authconfig. It was much safer that way.
    As a result, when you change from Fermi Linux 7.3.x to Fermi Linux 9.0.x, if authconfig is not run again, then you cannot log in at the console for root. You can ssh or telnet in if you wish.
    This bug has been fixed on June 26, 2003. If you are doing a network install you should be fine. If you are doing a cd-rom install, you should follow the following instructions.
      BEFORE you upgrade
    1. login as root
    2. cd /root
    3. mv .k5login k5login
    4. AFTER you upgrade
    5. login as root
    6. /usr/sbin/authconfig --kickstart
    7. cd /root
    8. mv k5login .k5login
  • Run level changed from 5(graphical) to 3(text)
    If your linux machine is set to start up in graphical mode before the upgrade, it is quite possible that when you are done, that it will start up in text mode.
    We believe this to be a bug in RedHat's installation program that we have not tracked down yet, but it is a bug that fails on the safe side.
    How To Fix This
    1. After you upgrade login as root
    2. Verify that your graphics work
    3. edit the file /etc/inittab and change
    4. reboot
  • broken yum
    This has been fixed and shouldn't be a problem. But just incase, if yum isn't working after you upgrade.
    1. login as root
    2. rm /usr/share/yum/ftplib.pyc

Pre-Upgrade Checklist

You'll need to acquire or know these items before upgrading Fermi Linux on your system:

  • (must have any one of the following)
    • Fermi Linux 901 Install Boot Floppy Disk AND Network Driver Floppy Disk.
      (For laptops)Fermi Linux 901 Install Boot Floppy Disk AND PCMCIA Driver Floppy Disk
    • Fermi Linux 901 Network Install CD-ROM
    • Fermi Linux 901 distribution cd's (set of 3)

    The network install floppies or cd can gotten from the PREP counter at FCC3W or from Yolanda at WH8NW. Or you can make your own by following these instructions.
    Distribution CDROM's are available only for people who are installing systems off-site. They are not available for installation on on-site computers. The reason for this is that we do not want old versions of Fermi Linux on CD's laying around for years to come when there is a new distribution (with enhanced security) available for installation.
    Having said that, CDROM's can be requested by sending email to Connie Sieh and we'll get them to you one way or another.

  • (must have)The patition that / is mounted on. This can be found by doing a 'df' or looking at your current /etc/fstab
  • (must have if doing network upgrade - not needed for cd install)network IP address

    First determine if you are using dhcp or a static IP address. To do that do a
    grep BOOTPROTO /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0

    • BOOTPROTO=dhcp
      This is where a IP address and hostname get assigned to your machine for a limited time. Most laptops work this way, where you just plug in your computer and you automatically are on the network. Not all sub-nets at the lab support DHCP.
      If you will be using DHCP during the upgrade, you do not need to figure out your IP address, it will be detected and used automatically.
    • BOOTPROTO=static
      You will need four settings to do a network install.
      • The IP address
        grep IPADDR /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0
      • The network Netmask
        grep NETMASK /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0
      • The network Default Gateway IP address
        grep GATEWAY /etc/sysconfig/network
      • The network Primary nameserver
        grep nameserver /etc/resolv.conf
  • (rarely needed)The type of monitor you have.
  • (rarely needed)The type of video card in the system including make, model and amount of video memory.
  • (rarely needed)The type of ethernet card you have including make and model.
  • (optional)A blank DOS formatted 1.44MB floppy to create a rescue boot disk.

Installation Instructions

  • Network Install: Note that the very first part of the install is done in text mode. This is because we simply cannot fit the graphical isntallation on a floppy disk. Once you connect to the installation server it will try to startup the graphical install. Until that point, here are a few things to note.
    Use the Tab/Alt-Tab keys to navigate between elements.
    The <space> key selects/deselects items.
  • CDROM Install: The first cdrom is bootable if your BIOS supports bootable cdrom's. Most new BIOS's support this feature though, you may have to enable it in the BIOS. If you do not want to boot via the cdrom you can make a floppy to boot from. This will still install via the cdrom.; Use the bootdisk.img and drvblock.img floppy images. For instructions on how to make a install floppy see here. You will need to boot from the bootdisk.img.
  • Text Install: For either network or cd-rom install, type in 'linux text' and then return at the very first step.

Click on Image for full size image.
Click on Section Name for detailed instructions.
Sections marked with a ** have default screens inside their section.

Bootup Screen (Enter) or [linux text](Enter)

Choose a Language(Network install only) [OK]

Keyboard Type(Network install only) [OK]

Installation Method(Network install only)NFS image [OK]

FTP installs will not do a graphical install.

Driver Disk(Floppy based network install only) [Yes]

Configure TCP/IP(Network install only)

  • Choose DHCP
  • or
  • Enter the IP address (from above)
    Netmask (from above)
    Default gateway (from above)
    Primary nameserver (

NFS Setup(Network install only)

NFS server name:
Red Hat directory: /export/linux/901/i386


At this point, the installation try's to startup the graphical installation. If for some reason the installation is unable to startup the graphical mode, then it will run the installation in text mode. Although this is a rare occurance, it does happen from time to time.
At this point, you can also take out the floppy disk if you wish, it is not used again.

Splash Screen

Welcome [Next]

Language Selection(CD-Rom install only) [Next]

Keyboard(CD-Rom install only) [Next]

Mouse Configuration Verify then [Next]

Upgrade Examine Reinstall System [Next]

Update Boot Loader Configuration [Next]

(If you selected 'Customize packages' earlier)
Package Group Selection Select/Remove desired packages then [Next]

About to Upgrade [Next]

The installation will proceed.
This is the usual time to get a snack or stretch.
(Network install only) This is also a very good time to take out the floppy disk, or network install mini-cd.

Boot Diskette Creation Yes / No [Next]

Congratuations Remove the floppy or cdrom from the drive [Exit]

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