upgrade to FC5 on a dell inspirion 8000 takes a very long time

Joel Jaeggli joelja at darkwing.uoregon.edu
Mon Apr 17 17:37:57 UTC 2006

On Mon, 17 Apr 2006, Garrett Mitchener wrote:

> Hi, I upgraded my old laptop from FC4 to FC5 this weekend.  It's a dell
> inspiron 8000 from 2002, with 256M ram and an 800 MHz CPU.  I used the
> graphical installation using an external USB hard disk with ISO images.  It
> took over 24 hours -- I haven't determined the exact time.  The hard drive
> was active pretty much the entire time.  While it was actually installing
> packages it seemed to go pretty quickly, but every so often it would pop up
> a window about preparing an RPM transacation.  Each one of those took
> hours.  I used the shell on one of the other consoles to peek at what it was
> doing.  The CPU was pretty bored, usually around 2% usage according to top.
> The USB hard drive was also not the bottleneck -- I watched the light and it
> showed no activity most of the time.  The memory was pretty much full and it
> used about 256M out of 500M of swap space the whole time.  I've upgraded
> this particular machine from RH 7.0 to 7.2 to 9, then to FC 1, 2, 3, and 4,
> and each upgrade seems to take longer.  The last time I upgraded, it took
> overnight, but this business of taking over 24 hours is just getting crazy.
> The only thing I can think of is that the hard drive isn't exactly fast and
> RPM or ananconda or whatever was handling the packages must have been
> thrashing.

Dependancy calculation with you packages probably took order of 500MB of 
ram, so it's spent 99.99% percent of the time swapping.

If I have a particular complaint about fc5 that would indeed be it, the 
overhead for updating is a bit excessive, and somebody should spend some 
time optomizing it. becauswe if it took that long to upgrade from rhel4 to 
rhel5 I'd be in some trouble with some of our servers. (which are less 
resource contrained than your laptop).


> (I've also had some trouble with RPM -- one of its databases
> might be corrupted and rpm --rebuilddb didn't fix it.)  Has anyone else run
> into this problem?  Is it just a slow hard drive?  Is there something wrong
> (as in inefficient) with these huge RPM transactions?  I have some data that
> I got out of ps and /proc while the upgrade was running and I can post them
> later if anyone thinks it might help.
> I would really like to figure out what's going on -- One of the advantages
> that linux has always had over windows is that it doesn't force old hardware
> into obsolecense as fast, but I'm now worried that upgrading this machine
> next time just won't be possible.
> Thanks in advance,
> -- Garrett Mitchener

Joel Jaeggli  	       Unix Consulting 	       joelja at darkwing.uoregon.edu
GPG Key Fingerprint:     5C6E 0104 BAF0 40B0 5BD3 C38B F000 35AB B67F 56B2

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