Slackware Current Goes Beta – And I Upgrade Now

Alright. Enough about that Arch Linux for a while. Let me return to my first love… Slackware, baby! :)

A few days ago, Pat V. announced that the Current branch of Slackware has now gone beta. Well, let me tell you how I do things. Ever since I started running Slack as my primary OS back around 10.1 or so, I always upgrade to Current from stable once it goes beta. Up until this time around, I’ve always used the standard UPGRADE.TXT method found on the servers along with an in depth perusal of the CHANGES_AND_HINTS.TXT. I guess you could say that’s the “Slacker Way” of doing it.

I have three production systems running Slackware as the main operating system; my main system, my home office laptop, and my workshop system out back. They were all running fully updated 13.37 at the time I started this project. Normally, I would have started with the system that was lowest priority and easiest to restore should I do something stupid… that would normally be the shop system. However, it was awfully hot out there this week. I decided to sit in the AC and upgrade the home office laptop first.

Backup. Backup. Backup.

I wasn’t worried about my separate /home partition, although I did back it up anyway. However, it was that all-important /etc directory that I really wanted to make sure I kept intact. I made a backup which later turned out to be usable with difficulties. I copied it as my user into a user-mounted partition. Ooops! All ownership/permissions went to hell. I had to manually edit to get them back the way they’re supposed to be. And why did I need to do this?

Well, because for the first time ever, an upgrade did not go to well for me. But hey… Current is beta after all, right? Besides, I think it was me that boogered it up by overwriting critical config files without thinking. I did not have enough coffee that day, I don’t think. Long story short, I had to reinstall 13.37 on the laptop and restore the edited /etc to get things back to normal again. Once I did that, it was time to try again.

This time, however, I was convinced by friend chrisretusn from my private board, an old Slacker from way back, that I should try his somewhat custom version of upgrading using the slackpkg package manager. Now, to be honest, I was skeptical. I’ve heard a few horror stories about attempting slackpkg upgrades in Slack. His plan looked good, though, and it had worked for him. I figured, myeh… what the hell. I can always install 13.37 again.

Here’s how I did the upgrade using Chris’ slackpkg method:

  • Since I don’t use KDE on my systems (any system, ever, any time ;)), I needed to edit my /etc/slackpkg/blacklist to add the kde and kdei directories.
    • This is easy enough to do… just open your favorite editor (vim for me) and edit the file to add:

#

# Blacklist KDE components

#

kde

kdei

  • Now that I have KDE blacklisted and don’t have to worry about getting tons of KDE stuff dumped on my system, I can now edit my /etc/slackpkg/mirrors file to change to my Current server from the 13.37 one previously used.
    • Also simple to do. I just opened my editor again and commented out (added #) the old 13.37 mirror and then removed the hash (#) from my new Current mirror.
  • Next, using slackpkg, I upgraded the critical packages first, then the rest:
    • # slackpkg update
    • # slackpkg upgrade glibc findutils pkgtools slackpkg tar xz
    • # slackpkg update
    • # slackpkg install-new
      • determine what you want to do with your new configs (keep, overwrite, merge, etc). For me, it’s a per file decision, so I chose “p” for Prompt and pay close attention to each config using the “d” option to see the differences before making that final choice. You don’t want to bork up your configs.
    • # slackpkg upgrade-all
      • this took a while for me. Your mileage may vary depending on your hardware and connection speeds.
      • again, I needed to consider how to handle new config files.
  • Now we’re getting to the final stretch… I needed to create an initrd for my newly installed generic kernel.
    • Using the README.initrd that you can always find in /boot, I did the following to create my new initrd:
      • mkinitrd -c -k 3.2.23 -m ext3 -f ext3 -r /dev/sda2 (your partition will be different, possibly)
    • I then ran “lilo” from the command line to update the bootloader.
  • Lastly, I ran #slackpkg clean-system
    • and selectively chose what detritus to remove from my system. Older Xfce4 installations, for example. Be careful to NOT remove apps you’ve manually installed via SlackBuilds and such.

Cross fingers, toes, eyes, etc.. reboot.

WOO-HOO! We have bootup, Houston!

Now, there were some bugaboos here and there. I basically followed this same procedure above and upgraded my shop system, and finally, my main system; in front of which I’m sitting right now typing this mess. ;) All three systems had the same issues. I spent the last two or three days debugging. I think I’m stabilized for the moment. If you want to see the “blow-by-blow”, you can read this thread over at Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux.

It’s been fun, lemme tell ya’! :)

I’m having a couple issues that are really aggravating, though. One is that Thunar (Xfce’s file manager) is displaying all my unmounted partitions and “network” in the treeview on the left pain. Here’s a screenie:

I knew this was coming because I had the same issue in Arch when they went to Xfce 4.10 a while back. It’s annoying. I resolved it in Arch by converting to a pure systemd installation and installing gvfs and python2-udiskie (for auto-mounting). Can’t do that in Slack, though, not at the moment; so my quick fix to get rid of the unmounted volumes and get auto-mounting (almost) working again was to install Xfe (X File Explorer) via SlackBuild. Here’s a look at it:

It’s not as pretty as Thunar, but it has some neat features, including 1-click mounting of removable media. Pretty cool little file manager. Of course, if all these GUI apps keep aggravating me, I’ll just go back to Midnight Commander. ;)

It’s been a learning experience. No, I didn’t upgrade the “Slacker Way” this time, but this way seems to have worked nearly as well. Now to just sit back and read the daily change logs till the final release. Thanks to Patrick Volkerding and all the other contributors, helpers, de-buggers, etc. who make this all possible. My life would be ever so much more boring without my beloved Slackware.

Have FUN with it!

Later…

~Eric

Addenda 1: By the way, about that saving permissions when copying folders/files… the proper way to do that is to use the -p or –preserve switches with cp in the command line. So, to properly copy my /etc to a backup location, I needed to do this:

# cp -rp /etc <desination directory>

It works a lot better that way. :)

Addenda 2: Spent the day today debugging system issues. All systems are working 100% as of now. Here’s an updated log of what I did –> vtel57-github document

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8 Comments on “Slackware Current Goes Beta – And I Upgrade Now”

  1. someslack says:

    Hey Eric,

    Why not use clonezilla instead of copying folders? Then if something goes south, reverting back to your good old setup is a trivial task.

    As for Thunar, do you have gvfs and udisks2 installed? (they should be there since you did ‘slackpkg install-new’) I have the impression those are the dependencies for automounting and trash support (they replaced thunar-volman).

    I’m waiting for this release. I think it’ll be a glorious one :-)

    kabamaru

    • Yup, udisks2 installed (and gvfs). No joy.

      Can’t use Clonezilla… no place to store image. :(

      I’m running across at least once a day. Like today, I found that gucharmap is broken. *sigh* Well, we are talking beta here, after all. ;)

  2. someslack says:

    In case you start Xfce with startx or XDM, did you update your ~/.xinitrc ? If no, you could back it up, delete it, and run xwmconfig.

    ChangeLog, Jul 25th:

    xfce/xfwm4-4.10.0-i486-2.txz: Rebuilt.
    Modified xinitrc.xfce to handle system-wide .Xresources and .Xmodmap.
    Launch startxfce4 using ck-launch-session and/or dbus-launch to fix problems
    with using XDM. This same approach should also help Thunar on other window
    managers. Let me know if there are any issues, as I’ll likely be applying
    these changes to the other xinitrc files. Thanks to GazL on LQ.

    • Yes, I start my Slack in RL 3 with no X running initially, then I startx (xinit) to get the GUI started. I do not have a .xinitrc in my home directory, so I’m probably booting the direct xinitrc from /etc/X11, I would assume. It looks like this:

      #!/bin/sh
      # xinitrc.xfce – modified to work around xfce4session bug
      # https://bugzilla.xfce.org/show_bug.cgi?id=8841

      ########################################################################
      ## Merge in defaults and keymaps ##
      ########################################################################

      userresources=$HOME/.Xresources
      usermodmap=$HOME/.Xmodmap
      sysresources=/etc/X11/xinit/.Xresources
      sysmodmap=/etc/X11/xinit/.Xmodmap

      if [ -f $sysresources ]; then
      /usr/bin/xrdb -merge $sysresources
      fi

      if [ -f $sysmodmap ]; then
      /usr/bin/xmodmap $sysmodmap
      fi

      if [ -f $userresources ]; then
      /usr/bin/xrdb -merge $userresources
      fi

      if [ -f $usermodmap ]; then
      /usr/bin/xmodmap $usermodmap
      fi

      ########################################################################
      ## Start xfce Desktop Environment ##
      ########################################################################

      if [ -z "$DESKTOP_SESSION" -a -x /usr/bin/ck-launch-session ]; then
      exec ck-launch-session dbus-launch –exit-with-session /usr/bin/startxfce4
      else
      exec dbus-launch –exit-with-session /usr/bin/startxfce4
      fi

      I’m finding many other bugaboos today. I have a lot of broken apps, it seems… gucharmap, xfce-screenshooter, xfburn, thunar (previously mentioned issues), etc. There may be more. I’m going to have to just sit down and test ever app on my systems I guess. I’m beginning to think a fresh install when Slack goes stable may be in the cards, you know. :(

  3. [...] Slackware Current Goes Beta – And I Upgrade Now Alright. Enough about that Arch Linux for a while. Let me return to my first love… Slackware, baby! [...]

  4. Hey Eric, not to sound smug, but perhaps sticking to the ‘official’ way of doing things might have been better? Anyway, you’ve got the time ;) Btw, did you go back to a basic formatted html layout or is it the Opera I’m using?

    Barnaby

    • The “official” way? Hmm… possibly. I think in both methods, the problems were “Eric related” rather than faults with the methods. It’s much more frequently the case, you know. ;)

      If you mean the blog’s interface, B, I just changed to another theme is all. :)


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