Upgrading from Fedora 15 i686 to Fedora 16 x86_64

A couple of months ago I bought a new laptop with 8GB of RAM, but I realized I was running on a 32 bits system which meant I couldn’t use all my RAM. I had to switch to 64 bits. It takes so much time for me to restore my system that I didn’t have the courage to go through it again (did it last year, switched from Debian to Fedora, took me a week), so I stayed with 32 bits. Yesterday I had to upgrade to Fedora 16 and decided to do the switch to 64 bits at the same time… I’d like to share my experience with you!

First of all, I had to download the 64 bits version of the fedora CD which is not the default download on the website, I had to click on the small “more download options” to get the choice and I realized that’s how I got the 32 bit  install in the first place (Fedora download page should definitely list both links). Then I made a backup of all the installed packages on my system so I can restore them on the new system :

 yum -C info $(rpm -qa) | grep “Name   :” | cut -c 15- > packages-list.log

This will list all of the packages installed, and ask yum for the exact name of the package (instead of “git-”, it becomes “git”).. if you have a better method of doing that, let me know, but this did the trick for me.

Update: A better method was given to me by Hansen and Richard Godbee in the comments : rpm -qa –qf “%{name}\n” > packages-list.log

I obviously had a separate partition for the  /home directory, which made things easier, so I backed up in it the important directories which were: /opt, /root, /etc, /usr/local and my scratchbox home dir. Then the moment of truth, reboot into the live cd, install it, make sure not to format the /home partition, and reboot into the new 64 bits system.

First of all, as soon as I tried to login, gnome 3 would completely crash and would not let me log in, so I had to create a new user, login into gnome 3, then “ls -la” the files in the new user’s home dir, then delete (move away) those same files/directories from my own home dir, so that gnome doens’t crash anymore… apparently, my settings suddenly became incompatible or something… It’s important to note that I had some further problems later and I had to copy back .gnome2/keyrings otherwise the gnome-keyring daemon would freeze.

To restore all the packages that I had before, I first had to re-install (manually) the rpmfusion repository (free and nonfree), then I just did a simple :

yum install $(cat packages-list.log)

And after 1.2GB of downloads and 1020 package installs, my system was technically “restored” to how it was before the format. I look at the “No package foobar” lines given by yum at that point which told me what I needed to install manually (opera, skype, dropbox), which I did, and a few libs that apparently don’t exist anymore in Fedora 16. Now I just had to restore the /opt for some apps I had in there (and recompile the EFL/E17),  copy the Enlightenment.desktop file to /usr/share/xsessions, restore my /etc/hosts (which had some custom entries), restore some custom scripts I wrote into /usr/local/bin and recompile the libraries I was working on and had installed in /usr/local (gstreamer, libnice, farstream). I also had to install a few 32 bit libraries so I could install skype (which only comes in 32 bit flavor).

It took me about a day of work/compilation, but now I feel back home, don’t notice any difference in my system other than the fact that I will now be writing 32-bits bugs instead of 64-bits bugs 🙂



12 thoughts on “Upgrading from Fedora 15 i686 to Fedora 16 x86_64

  1. If I am not mistaken, with the PAE kernels (which are the default now) you could have used all 8GB RAM on a 32-bit Fedora, with the only caveat being that no single process can use more than 2 or 4 GB (I think 2, but I forget which).

  2. For listing installed package names (no version number):

    rpm --qf='%{NAME}\n' -qa | sort | uniq

    The | sort | uniq is useful on architectures where you can have two different architectures of the same package installed (like i386 + x86_64 on x86_64). Without it, some packages could be listed twice.

    • Oh nice, I didn’t know that –qf option (I actually don’t know any option to ‘rpm’ other than -i and I found the -qa by googling). That would have saved the yum info | grep and made it much cleaner.

  3. – Planning and backing up important/useful scripts
    – Feeling the blood flow fast when choosing OK on “this will destroy your data on this partition, there is no turning back” like messages
    – choosing the partition scheme for your new system and the EXTRA super-duper caution in order to avoid damaging /home partition
    – restoring the system and adding back all the customizations on the new system
    – The joy of seeing your new system back in business as it (kind of) was…

    Sounds like a happy day of a regular and careful linux user! =D

    Hard to see these things on regular Windows/mac point-and-click users.

    • hahaha, that’s definitely how it happened, and yeah, I don’t think windows has a way to list all the programs installed in C:\Program Files and have them auto-reinstalled after reformat :p

  4. @THE TRUTH Hey man, this is about RAM not about the ps3, leave that comment on the ps3 messages, ur doing good KaKaRoTo, succes!

    • Thanks, still surprised some people don’t understand the difference between ps3-related posts and non-ps3 related posts. I deleted his stupid comment (and the person who replied to him, even though that one comment was nice, it just didn’t have its place here anymore).

  5. Out of complete curiosity someone of your stance on working on things like experimenting with PS3 firmware and algorithms, which is needless to say quite complex, why don’t you go with something completely custom if you’re going to stick to linux, like Gentoo and make your PC into a powerhouse? It’s updated nearly every day.. And btw, if you can see emails contact me, I have a question regarding the PS3 and may have a new perspective to look at it through for you.

    • Because I don’t have time to wait for stuff to compile, I have work to do. Also, I tried gentoo, debian, slackware, ubuntu, corel OS, mandrake, mandriva, suse and I even built LFS (Linux From Scratch), my favorite distros are debian and fedora at the moment, and that whole “gentoo is a powerhouse because you compile everything yourself” is a myth, the gain is negligible. But the loss of time compiling all that, that’s very real.

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