Big Bubbles (no troubles)

What sucks, who sucks and you suck

Worst. Upgrade. Ever.

<Insert standard rant about quality of Fedora releases and inevitable bugs and issues with every upgrade>

OK, FC3 to FC5 has been a disaster, an utter abomination. It didn’t actually wipe all my data and toast the disk, so in that sense it was a limited success, but in the other important sense of leaving one with a workable system, it sucked ass. This is a quick list of the problems I’m currently having for the benefit of anyone else stuck in Fedora hell. If you’ve not upgraded yet, there’s still time to contemplate CentOS.

  • Anaconda upgrade hangs after selecting packages for installation: Seems to be due to a lack of disk space for the chosen package set. Ths wasn’t helped by the installer selecting dozens of OpenOffice 2.0.2 internationalisation packages, because I already had the 1.x i18n package installed. To workaround this, I removed the latter along with a ton of obsolete and -devel RPMs.
  • Anaconda upgrade fails to complete: It appeared to have finished but, several hours later, was hung with no message. I rebooted anyway.
  • Network performance sucks: Using a VIA-Rhine card, I can’t exchange ping packets over approximately 2000 bytes with an FC2 server. This makes NFS, and hence my entire desktop, terminally slow and the overall experience horrendous.
    Possible solutions: Downgrade to last FC4 kernel, upgrade to most recent FC5 updates-testing kernel or build the VIA rhinefet driver (maybe).
    Update: It’s an interaction with netfilter/iptables, since it only occurs when the netfilter module is loaded (regardless of whether any rules are present); see bug 187145. I got it working by using the alternative rhinefet driver from VIA Arena; you’ll need this patch for rhine_main.c to compile it.
  • Remote clients can’t connect to X server: TCP listening has been disabled in the server (possibly an FC4 change), via the -nolisten option in the /etc/X11/xdm/kdmrc file.
    Solution: Delete this option and restart kdm.
    Once again, a Fedora upgrade blatently overwrote my KDM config so it could impose its own crappy login screen. (Note to Fedora developers: I want to kill you everytime you do this.)
  • Network interfaces swapped: eth1 became eth0 and vice-versa. The mapping seems to be teed off the MAC addresses in the /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth* files. In fact, initially my 3c59x card was missing because it didn’t initialise when the module loaded at boot time (but did when retried manually); this may be how the NICs came to be renumbered.
    Update: Think this was partly due to my getting the MAC address wrong in one of the files, but how the original issue developed is a mystery.
  • Yum deletes downloaded headers and packages even if it fails to install them due to conflicts. Hence it fetches them all again on every subsequent attempt.
    Solution: You can either set “keepcache=1” in yum.conf or add a “proxy=URL” setting pointing to a caching proxy like Squid.
  • Firefox 1.5: When it eventually starts, I find that most of my extensions appear to be inactive, although they are listed, and it is attempting to install a huge set of language packs. This is probably going to require profile recreation.
    Update: Worked OK once I’d fixed the network issue; was probably a casualty of slow NFS.
  • VMware Server (free beta): Bridged networking didn’t work until I applied the patch archive linked here.
  • Avahi, HAL, dbus, etc. active: I wish someone would clarify whether these are required for general system operation or only to pander to the needs of overblown desktop environments like GNOME and KDE.

Someone on LWN recently referred to Fedora as a “technology demonstration” rather than a useable distribution. There is a lot of truth in this remark.