Upgrading Mandrake Linux 10.0 to Mandriva LE2005 10.2

In February 2005, Mandrake Soft of France and Conectiva of Brazil, announced that they merged. Shortly afterwards, in April 2005, they announced that they are changing their name to Mandriva. Then they released Mandriva Limited Edition 2005 (LE2005) which is what Mandrake 10.2 should have been.

Since I have several machines at home, all running Mandrake, it was time to start the annual upgrade to stay current.

The upgrade went fine without much surprises, except for those listed below, with their solutions. All the existing devices seem to work well, even the sound cards that were manually configured in 10.0.

After upgrading two machine, here are the caveats to watch for:

Some packages unreadable

On upgrading the second machine using the same CD set, the packages xorg-x11-server and xorg-x11 were not readable for some reason. Without those, X11 would not run, and therefore neither KDE (or Gnome if you are using that), and therefore, no GUI application would run. The solution was for me to download them using FTP from the command line and using the rpm -e command, removed XFree86-Server package, then using rpm -ivh installed the above two packages.

I later had the same problem on the same machine with the OpenOffice.org packages, and I had to download them via FTP, and install them. Initially, I thought the problem is a bad CD, but it seems that this particular machine's CD drive is to blame. 

Permissions wrong on /dev/null  

On the first two machines, The permissions on /dev/null were not correct. it is 660 (rw-rw----). This caused many programs to not work, or to be very slow, hogging the CPU. An example is xrdb when KDE is starting up. I found out that it is trying to wite to /dev/null and failing by running strace on the process. It should be changed to 666 (rw-rw-rw-). This can be done using the command chmod 666 /dev/null from a root terminal.

Interestingly enough, the other two machines did not exhibit this problem. 

devfs vs. udev 

There is a conflict between devfs and the new udev subsystem for managing removable media. This caused booting to be either very slow, or freeze up completely. Since LE2005 uses udev, you have to disable devfs. The easiest way of doing so is to boot into failsafe mode (from the boot menu) and depending on whether you are using grub or lilo edit its file as needed:

  • If you are using grub, then edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and change all devfs=mount to be devfs=nomount. If you cannot boot far enough for some reason, then you can use grub's interactive commands to edit the command line used for booting on the fly, so you can continue to boot, then edit the above mentioned file to make this permanent. You can do this
  • If you are using lilo, then edit /etc/lilo.conf and change all occurances of devfs=mount to be devfs=nomount. You have to run the lilo command for this change to take effect.

IDE Tape not autoconfigured

I use a Seagate Travan IDE tape drive for backing up the server. This tape drive has to use SCSI emulation over IDE  in order to work properly. On 9.2, Mandrake did not autoconfigure the tape drive, and make it emulate SCSI. This was not a big deal, since a simple boot option hdd=ide-scsi. in either /boot/grub/menu.lst or /etc/lilo.conf does the trick.

On 10.0, this was not necessary, since Mandrake did this on its own.

On Mandriva 10.2, we are back to not autoconfiguring the tape drive, and hence the need for and ide-scsi option at boot time.

Later, I noticed some other serious tape problems, which I have detailed separately here.

USB MP3 Player does not get mount 

The BenQ Joybee 110 is a 128MB music player that worked fine with 10.0. On 10.2, it does get identified correctly, and placed in the /etc/fstab file. However, it does not get mounted automatically. 

This is probably due to the dependancy on Gnome Volume Manager as explained in the hot pluggable hardware and removable media handling Wiki page. I don't have Gnome installed and perhaps that is why this is not happening.

The workaround was to write a simple shell script that does a mount, and create a link to it on the desktop. Plugging the USB thing in, and clicking on this icon does the trick.