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Recent upgrading notes.

First I want to thank Rob Browning for his patience getting me up to speed
in perl. Many many many many thanks Rob. Because of your help I now have a
perl script that will do installation upgrades from an ordered list. I
have used it succesfully in upgrading my testbench from R6 to 1.1 for the
base packages, and will move on to the devel section shortly.
I have some update work to do on my upgrade notes, but should have them
ready to post to debian-user early this week (Monday?).
There are some really minor nits that still aren't fixed:

While removing ncurses-runtime /usr/lib/terminfo was found to not be empty
and wasn't removed. Are there any left over things there that will bite

Both the base package and ncurses-base want to create /etc/terminfo.

In both the above cases dpkg-1.1.5aout automaticaly used force overwrite
to resolve these problems. At what point will force-overwrite go away?

Dpkg thinks the new version of ae is a downgrade (493 to 96) but installs
it anyway. Will dselect do the right thing?

The timezone package has more South American cities than North American
cities in the city list for America (the only city I saw for EST was
New_York!). I understand that this is going to be fixed by providing 3
digit time zone codes as well as cities. This would be really nice to have
fixed by 1.1 release.

The image package tries to remove the module directories for the 1.2.13
kernel, but can't because they are not empty. Why is a 1.3.64 image
attempting to remove modules for some other kernel version? I would hope
that upgrading to a new image doesn't distroy your abilitiy to use old
kernels (for fall back if nothing else).

Now for a major issue: Configuration file handling by dpkg.

On my last several test upgrades, I answered yes every time I was asked if
I wanted the maintainers configuration file over my own.

The only place I ran into problems was with the passwd file (of course).
If you accept the maintainers version, all users go away, and root becomes
password free. This is not a desirable outcome. If I choose to keep my own
passwd file but allow the maintainers group file, I stand a good chance of
loosing group accesses that changed in group but not in my passwd file.

It seems to me that, at least for passwd and group files (and potentially
all configuration files), that the conffile method in dpkg is not
sufficient to the task at hand.

There needs to be a reliable method for merging maintainers changes to
these files with existing/working versions of these files. In particular
if a group changes, all users assigned to the previous group and all their
files and directories, must have the group fields modified to reflect
these changes. This is not a trivial task, but seems to me to be
absolutely necessary to fulfill our goals of smooth upgradability for a
Debian system. Anything short of an intelligent merge leaves the system
with potential problems.

I will post my notes when they have been updated, along with the script
and the ordered list. These will also be available at:
10am til 2pm and 7pm til 10pm weekdays.

Parity on Dudes,


------------                                          --------------

aka   Dale Scheetz                   Phone:   1 (904) 877-0257
      Flexible Software              Fax:     NONE 
      Black Creek Critters           e-mail:  dwarf@polaris.net

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