Downloaded the SunRay3 software for linux on Friday night with the intention of getting it working over the weekend. It didn’t work straight out of the box on my SuSE 9 machine so I thought I’d upgrade to 9.1 with the online update tool in yast2.
Now I have never done this before. And it’s only recently that I’ve started using Live Upgrade to update a solaris box, I have an automated lab to test the Solaris patches work with Live Upgrade (and patchadd -R) so my confidence in the product is fairly good. The mistake I made was thinking that an automated update would be trivial on linux.
I pointed the tool to a nearby mirror, and set it downloading. When I came back hours later I discovered it had completed! However it had mentioned it neded to download several gig, and unless my broadband connection had got ultra fast, there is no way it could have finished. So I started it again, and sure enough it went off to get more packages. I started the update 5 times in total before all dependencies were met.
I then had a dilema. An update that hadne gone too well, had updated the kernel to 2.6.something, and god knows what on the system from the previous 2.4 kernel (sorry but linux kernel modules are about as forward compatible as pouring horse feed into a petrol engine, my laptop on the other hand has a solaris 8 network driver working happily in solaris 10), should I reboot? Ah sure why not, worst that can happen is that I have to recompile the nvidia drivers right?
nvidia drivers didnt work. And didn’t compile. ok my own fault for not downloading the ones for the 2.6 kernel (thought of horse feed cross my mind again). downloaded compiled and insmodded fine. reboot. panic. reboot. hang. reboot. roll a d20 to see whether it hangs or panics while setting up eth0.
Turns out that the VPN client module was making all of the networking parts of the kernel break. This module was rebuilt, with the 2.6 kernel, compiled fine, loaded fine. Then does random things, when you try to do something _else_ with networking, like run ifconfig. Found a module for the Java Desktop System and it works, but I’d have expected the broken module to complain at compile or insmod time if something was amis. It worked on 2.4 afterall.
Networking now works, with the forcedeth driver rather than the nvnet driver. According to yast2 it should be nvnet, according to modprobe.conf its nvnet, but something still insists on using the forcedeth driver. I think Linux is trying to be clever somewhere, but I’ll settle for using this for the moment it works. I haven’t gone near audio, scsi, scanner, printer, but based on my previous experience (not counting this weekend) of the Java Desktop System and SuSE that should be ok.
That, dear friends is the story, much abridged, of how my upgrade went at the weekend. Does the SunRay work yet? Well no (its only listed as supporting SuSE 8, not 9.1), thats another days work, but when it does I’ll post pictures of the PC in the attic and Neverwinter Nights running on the sunray 🙂
In other news Prof. Fred Whipple passed away aged 97. He is probably best known for coming up with the
dirty snowball theory of comet neucleii, in 1950 the idea of the comets being mainly ice and having tails of gas heated by the Sun was a totally new concept. Almost as if the universe decided to mark his passing, two new comets were discovered by Amateurs last week. 2004/Q1 (Tucker) and 2004/Q2 (Machholz) may reach naked eye visibility sometime around December or January.