Sunday, April 24, 2011

Upgrading to Fedora 15 beta - the problems encountered

As usual, I wanted to upgrade the existing Fedora distribution using yum and not install it from scratch. I was wondering how smooth the transition to Gnome3 would be. I decided to experiment on Lenovo S10-3, especially as I was curious to see how Gnome 3 looks in comparison to the Ubuntu Unity on a Netbook.

The first step was to download fedora-release-15-0.7.noarch.rpm and manually install it. I needed to install fedora-release-rawhide-15-0.7.noarch.rpm as well.

As expected, some packages created conflicts. These seemed to be related to meego desktop. So, I removed them as that could be tried later.

Surprisingly, I had conflicts with backgrounds which I could not resolve. To narrow down the issues, I decided to disable the updates-testing repository and see if there was a change.

Now, I could go through with the upgrade but after I had forcibly removed gnome-themes. This did not seem to be a concern as there were conflicts in file names with another similar package.

The next surprise was that there were delta rpm packages. However, they would not work. Sadly, I did not read this documentation and had not seen this link regarding the changes in the xz compression. I let yum download the full packages.

The system was up and running. The KDE environment did not look any different. The Gnome3 environment was, of course, disconcerting. However, my first concerns were more immediate.

The first shock was that network manager did not find any devices.

A little search revealed that Fedora does not ship with the open source driver for Broadcom wifi devices as it is still a part of staging directory in the 2.6.38 kernel. And the wl driver was also not available for this kernel from the freshrpms repository. I will need to build a custom kernel.

That did not explain why the wired ethernet card was not found. I could get the network to work by explicitly running
# ifconfig eth0
#dhcpclient eth0

But why was network manager having a problem?

This led to the discovery of two other issues - /var/log/messages contained no new messages. And the NetworkManager system service was not running. I could manually start it and it would then find the eth0 device.

I tried the LiveCD and the messages file contains new entries. The logger works as expected.

Network manager works with the wired ethernet card without having to manually start the NetworkManager service. The difference is that the device is named em1 and not eth0.

So, somehow some of the configuration settings are not the expected ones because I upgraded from Fedora 14 to 15 beta.

Next step will be to understand how the new systemd is working and what could have caused the unexpected behavior when booting into Fedora 15.

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