Upgrade process for Fedora?

Jef Spaleta jspaleta at princeton.edu
Fri Oct 3 17:33:21 UTC 2003

griffisb wrote:

> I'm considering installing Fedora on a new laptop and wanted to know 
> what the upgrade process is. I am not familiar with Red Hat, so 
> familiarity with Fedora is nill. 

Right now the only thing available are TEST releases of Fedora Core.
It's very important to recognize that running TEST/BETA releases comes
with inherent risks. Once you install a test/beta release the
expectation that it will upgrade cleanly to the next official release is
unfounded. The expectation that a test2->test3 upgrade will run smoothly
is also unfounded. You have to think of the goals involved with the test
release process. The point of the test release process is to make it so
that you can upgrade from previous official releases to newer official
releases. If you upgrade from official->test  or test->test or
test->official, then you should be expecting breakage...becuase the
engineering goals for the test releases are focused on making
official->official upgrades smooth.

I do have some experience with Mandrake, SuSE and Debian,though.

> If I install Severn (Test 2?), how would I upgrade to Severn (Test 3?)
when it comes out? 
Better question...is upgrading from test2 to test3 WORTH testing?
The point of the test releases is to do testing....the upgrade path that
NEEDS testing is from rhl9,8,7.x->Fedora Core 1. Test3 will potential
have packaging fixes that make it impossible to cleanly upgrade from
test2 to test3. If you upgrade from test2 to test3...will the packagers
care much for your bugreports on the problems? My understanding that
making sure test2->test3 upgrades work correctly is a low priority in
the infinite list of things that should be working better. 

> Would I need to download the ISOs and burn them to CD again? Or is
> there a Debian-like apt-get update, apt-get upgrade? 

There are very clever ways to attempt to upgrade from test2->test3. And
they all fall in the "works for me" category sometimes. But if there is
a problem, you very well might not get much love from the bugzilla
trackers on the issues you have, becuase its outside the expected
upgrade path.

> When General Availability comes out in November, would I be burning 
> another set of CD's? 
general rule....there is no expected clean upgrade path from beta/test
releases. It can be done, it will most likely not be done as cleanly as
an official release->official release upgrade path. This is one of the
risks beta testers have to except as part of the process. The goal of
beta testing..is to not make beta testing easy...but to make official
release upgrading easy. Burn development to to ensure that test releases
will upgrade clean can very much get in the way of the technical
measures that need to happen to make sure official releases upgrade
well. Not all solutions are win-win, works for all situations,
solutions. If something has to be done to make an official->official
upgrade work well, at the cost of test->official upgrade...so be
it...the test/beta installers are told that test/beta releases are prone
to breakage...upgrading from them is no different.

> Would it be expecting too much to install Fedora, burn CD's as it goes
> GA, then ship and talk her through the upgrade process? Since Fedora >
is based on RH 9.0 (if I read right), could I assume RH9.0 User Guides >
would be appropriate?

this is  TEST release...if she isn't competent enough to be an active
participant in the testing process...submitting bugreports and giving
feedback to developers about those bugs...she should NOT be trying to
use the fedora core 0.94 test release on a day to day basis. There is an
inherent expectation in the test/beta release that something could
serious break, and the people running the test/beta release better
understand that, and be prepared to give feedback on the bugs they find.
Wait for the official release of Fedora Core.

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