another upgrade, another disaster

Caterpillar caterpillar86 at
Thu May 31 20:21:40 UTC 2012

2012/5/31 Adam Williamson <awilliam at>

> On Tue, 2012-05-29 at 16:50 -0400, Tom Callaway wrote:
> > On 05/29/2012 04:46 PM, Corey Richardson wrote:
> > > I've heard nothing but bad things about preupgrade from lots of people,
> > > and I've heard the developers either never hear about it, ignore it, or
> > > don't care. I tried a preupgrade and it half-succeeded, I had to fix
> > > the initramfs and a few other things afterwards though. IMO, it isn't
> > > worth the pain.
> >
> > We do test preupgrade as part of the pre-release testing. The problem is
> > that people do all sorts of wacky things to their systems that cause it
> > to not work well. I'm sure that QA would love to have more people
> > testing preupgrade during the beta->RC window.
> >
> > So, your statement that devs don't care isn't valid. It may still not be
> > worth the pain, depending on how much you have installed outside of the
> > Fedora Package universe.
> Not entirely valid, but if we're being completely honest, there is only
> one preupgrade maintainer - hughsie - and he has a couple of other
> full-time jobs. So I think it's fair to say it doesn't get as much
> active maintenance as it might. The preupgrade bug list is quite long -
> 127 bugs, - and I know for a
> fact it contains quite a few valid reports which could be fixed
> by...development.
> Your broader point is of course also true. upgrading is a fundamentally
> unsupportable operation: the amount of variables in play when it comes
> to upgrading a system which a person has been using, normally, for some
> time is so huge as to be probably incalculable. What we test in a
> programmed way is that you can do a clean installation of F16, update it
> to current packages, then run 'preupgrade' and wind up with an F17
> system that boots. That is the extent of the preupgrade validation
> testing. Any further testing relies on people trying it and filing bugs,
> as Tom says.
> The particular failure scenario involved here - 'user let
> SOME_THIRD_PARTY_THING screw up RPM-managed files' - is obviously quite
> a long way down the list of things we're going to care about. There has
> to be a limit to what we can achieve with the resources available to a
> project like Fedora. We don't have a 2,000 system test lab stashed away
> somewhere with a few hundred people in it running upgrade tests in
> various arbitrary scenarios, 24 hours a day. We just don't. All we can
> do is ask people to test and file bugs prior to release, and I think we
> certainly do enough of that...
> --
> Adam Williamson
> Fedora QA Community Monkey
> IRC: adamw | Twitter: AdamW_Fedora | adamwfedora
> --
> devel mailing list
> devel at

 I would like to share my experience about upgrading from Fedora 16 to 17 a
quiet number of machines.

100% percenteage computer base have putted my hands on, had problems during
the upgrade from Fedora 16 to 17.

Which problems? First of all, the most happening error (~80%) is after
preupgrade-anaconda upgrade. Once the installation of fc17 packages has
finished, at reboot, grub2 still had Fedora 16 kernels. To fix that you had
to start one of those kernels (and conseguentely having a kernel panic when
doing a system restart) and do a grub2-mkconfig /boot/grub2/grub.cfg On
most cases, it fixed the problem, but not every single time.

Second bug I found out: during anaconda system upgrade, it freezed on
upgrading package "steel bank common lisp". To finish the upgrade I had to
reboot and let it start again.

Third bug: after preupgrade finished to download fc17 packages, I rebooted,
but grub did not have a “upgrade system” entry. So the computer is not
upgradable with preupgrade.

In these hours, bugzilla is being full of reports like these...
So now, developers say that they need more people to do beta testing, but
my question is: if at least 80% userbase had troubles with grub showing old
kernels, is it possible that nobody of testers had this problem? I really
don't think so.
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