Broken grub configuration installed by the F9 anaconda
mrsam at courier-mta.com
Sun May 18 17:19:37 UTC 2008
The following happened when I upgraded one of my servers from F8 to F9. The
machine in question uses softraid for all partitions, and the swap partition
The machine in question is a headless router, no X no gnome, and I have a
manual entry in /etc/fstab that lets me manually mount a DVD. Anaconda
issued a minor complaint about not being able to mount that specific
partition, so all partitions may not be available, etc… Previous upgrades
reported the same warning, which is generally harmless, and I can continue.
Although I do not believe this was what caused the following issue, I'll
just mention it for completeness' sake. The same warning came up when
upgrading to F8, with no ill effects.
Anyway, the upgrade went along its merry way. To avoid wasting any time, I
upgraded in text mode. It's a little bit faster. Anaconda finished its
business, and ejected the DVD. No errors reported.
When I reboot, rather than the lovely grub boot menu, I immediately get
thrown into Grub's famous "WTF do you wanna do now?" command line prompt.
Splendid. After booting the DVD into rescue mode, the following state of
affairs presented itself:
Everything seemed to have been installed normally. No problems mounting my
existing softraid partitions. /dev/md1 was mounted on /mnt/sysimage,
/dev/md0 on /mnt/sysimage/boot. This is correct, and grub.conf looked
Chrooting to /mnt/sysimage, and running "/sbin/grub-install /dev/sda"
produced a rather loud complaint from the script about being unable to map
the boot devices for /dev/md0 and /dev/md1. That, apparently is the problem.
It's twofold: grub-install can't figure out what the drives are. Anaconda
must've ran grub-install, ignored the error, and continued, business as
Outside of the chroot jail, the 'mount' command lists all the partitions.
Once I'm chrooted into /mnt/sysimage, the 'mount' command is silent. It
turns out that the mount command reads /etc/mtab. Outside of the chroot
jail, /etc/mtab is a symlink to /proc/mounts. Inside the chroot jail,
/etc/mtab is an empty file, and mount reports nothing. This, apparently,
After replacing /etc/mtab with a symlink to /proc/mount, inside the chroot
jail, /sbin/grub-install was happy, and I was able to reboot into F9.
Afterwards, I had to manually remove the /etc/mtab symlink, as it was
confusing other things.
I have another machine with Fedora installed on softraid, so I'll be doing
this again, within the next week or so.
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