21 October, 2009

Now, where did I put that update?

See Emily Play

This one's brought over from my MySpace blog, with one or two modifications. I'm just trying out Scribefire at the moment. It seems a bit slow to respond when I initially type stuff into the window, but in all other respects, it seems perfectly fine. For those of you who don't know, ScribeFire is a blogging client, written in JavaScript, that is a Firefox plug in. And not a bad one, either. Yes, it has its small problems, but it seems to support more blogtypes than what I was last using: Windows Live Writer.  My only issue with Writer is that it (gee!) only runs on the Windows platform. In comparison, this plugin runs anywhere that Firefox will run.

Careful with that axe, Eugene

I spotted ScribeFire in the list of available packages after having updated my Mandriva install up to the latest version, 2009.1. I did have a bit of an adventure getting everything set up and working, but my first problem was to get all the packages for the new release onto the system. As it was (at the time) sitting on 2009.0, I first had to change the urpmi configuration so it got the new stuff, not the old stuff I'd already been using. Did that (with the help of easyurpmi.zarb.org), and started upgrading packages piecemeal. Up until last month, I'd grabbed a batch of packages to update, then urpmi'd them into place.

Started with KDE, got most of that installed, tried rebooting the X server, only to find out I could no longer get KDE started. Shrugged it off, chose xfce instead. Upgraded gnome, then upgraded E17, adding some X server packages too. Tried booting E17, X server didn't want to know. Gave up on the X server as I'd obviously broken Xorg, went back to console for the moment. Thought about it a bit more, then said to hell with it. Upgrade them all at once.

urpmi --auto-select

Urpmi churned a bit, then asked me what library I wanted to provide for graphviz, then told me I'd lose several packages in the process as newer versions weren't available. I dealt with the occasional conflicts, installed all the packages I could (forcefully in two cases), then rebooted.

I'll see you on the dark side of the moon.

I knew I was sort of in trouble when I looked at the screen after I hit <Enter> on the Mandriva line, as the poor old grub had come up with the following output:

kernel (hd0,0)/boot/vmlinuz BOOT_IMAGE=linux root=/dev nosplash video=radeonfb:1024x768-16@75 resume=/dev/sda2 vga=791 Cannot find file. Error 16 Hit Enter to return to the menu

Once I took my third dried green frog pill, I looked more carefully at the input and output to see what had broken... it was then that I realised that grub wasn't even looking in the right place, as my setup has all my information on hd3,1. So, I corrected this, and corrected the root= parameter, changed the same thing for the initrd as well, crossed my fingers, and hit "b" (to boot what I'd saved). Thankfully, it loaded the kernel, and the initrd, and started my system up. Then I hit the next snag. avahi-daemon wouldn't start. it uttered a mournful [FAILED] to the screen, and my startup continued...until I hit haldaemon. The computer then (effectively) stopped dead in its tracks, waiting for I didn't know what. After a couple of resets, I finally found out that both haldaemon and avahi-daemon were dependent upon another service I'd forgotten about—messagebus. The Messagebus service starts up the dbus daemon, which handles all of the gobbledygook that seems to go on underneath the surface in a typical modern Mandriva distro. If it isn't running, then neither will anything else that depends upon it to be there. Think of it as another udev, but for messages instead of devices, although haldaemon also uses it.

So, it was back to the single-user boot. While I was there, I corrected /boot/grub/menu.lst at the same time so I wouldn't have to keep typing hd3, and pondered about dbus. I checked in /etc/rc.d/rc3.d again for a startup script with dbus in the name, but couldn't see one. Looked a bit further, and realised I was supposed to be looking for messagebus. Found THAT, as S99messagebus. Mandriva had got stuck on haldaemon, which was also at S99. As Mandriva runs through these alphabetically, I figured I needed to get messagebus to an earlier number. I checked the header of the file, and found that what was in there, didn't match the S99 level it had been set to initially. Then, I decided to check out the chkconfig man page. Thankfully there was a parameter I hadn't seen there before... resetpriorities.

What this does is: take a valid start (S level) and finish (K level) number, and change the symlinks filenames to match these numbers. For messagebus, I now had S53messagebus, and both avahi-daemon and haldaemon were one digit higher (S54). Time for the final test. Reboot - yet again, this time the kernel was booted, the scripting ran clean, and I was finally at a login: prompt. Whew. What a procedure.

Now, I just had to get X up and running, and hope that the massive package upgrade hadn't broken something else in the process. Thankfully, it hadn't, though E17 still doesn't want to start, and neither does nautilus. Those are things I can live without, or I can fix. But it goes without saying that I shouldn't have had to go to all of this trouble just to upgrade a system. Hell, Ubuntu handles upgrades better than this. Anyhow, that's my first (now my second) post made with this blogging client, I hope it ends up being a stayer.