Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Upgrading Fedora 10 to 11

Writing on the day of the scheduled release of Fedora 12 it might seem strange to be talking about two previous versions. However, I thought I would take stock briefly looking over my shoulder before moving forward with the very latest and greatest.

I upgraded both my home machines shortly after F11 was eventually released in early June after I had been tweeting about it for some time. Aside from a small problem with my main machine at home, both upgrades progressed seamlessly with the Fedora pre-upgrade tool. I'm a bit more conservative with my main work laptop usually staying 3 months behind the latest release, after eventually finding time to upgrade I've been running F11 on my laptop very smoothly for over a month now.

The issue I had upgrading my home machine was related to the fact my boot partition is on a (hardware) RAID device. It appears there is a bug in pre-upgrade in this area which I found out after a rare question to the fedora forums. In my experience pre-upgrade is pretty decent these days but beware that it still has some pitfalls such as this!

After pre-upgrade finishes your box reboots, in this case taking you from your F10 desktop to F11. All in all I've noticed very little difference between the two versions which raises some interesting questions for me, basically summarised by "What's the point in upgrading?". Having noticed very little difference after the upgrade this may well be a question many less experienced users ask too. On F10 my laptop worked flawlessly, I had compatibility with all the apps I need, accelerated 3d graphics with RandR 1.2 support (for easily switching between display devices), printing and some of the more traditionally contentious Linux functionality worked perfectly, namely wireless and suspend. F11 was exactly the same after my first boot into the system, flawless.

So what, indeed, is the point in an upgrade such as this? For me, I like to stay near (but in the case of my main machine not on) the bleeding edge of development. The upgrade for me was all about getting a few little extras in the Kernel (namely support for hard disk parking which I've not yet played with, and better web cam support) as well as all the little feature additions and bug fixes you get with every library and app you use on your box. The main point though, and the clincher, is that the upgrade process SHOULD be this smooth; these things SHOULD happen without causing any new problems while fixing as many old problems as possible. I'm glad to say F10 to F11 did work like this, it was a breeze, Fedora are getting this right and long may it continue.