Red Hat Bugzilla – Bug 451735
anaconda hang after "Upgrade existing install", reboot hosed my fstab
Last modified: 2009-01-09 01:36:46 EST
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Description of problem:
I tried using preupgrade to upgrade from FC8 -> F9. (I had previously done a yum upgrade; yum clean all; preupgrade as root.) Anaconda started up. When I got to the screen where it asked me to select between a fresh install or upgrading my existing FC8 installation, I selected the latter, then clicked on the "Next" button. The "Next" button immediately became gray, but then the system seemed to go silent. I could still move around the mouse pointer, but there was no further response from the system. The hard drive was not spinning. I left it for 5 minutes or so but still got no indication of progress and no feedback and no sign that it was doing anything. Thinking that things had frozen, I rebooted at that point.
That was a mistake. Anaconda hosed my system: it seems that it had replaced /etc/fstab with a 0-byte file, so when I went to reboot into my prior FC8 installation, that failed miserably. Replacing /etc/fstab with its proper contents has allowed me to boot again but this was not a fun experience.
Suggestion: If this kind of silent semi-freeze is expected, then modify Anaconda/preupgrade's UI to provide some indication that progress is happening and give a progress bar showing how long one should wait. In any case, it seems like setting up things so that rebooting in the middle of an install is unnecessarily hazardous to user data.
For obvious reasons, I have not tried to reproduce this! (The bugzilla requires me to enter enter some reproducability, but ignore that -- no way I am going to try to reproduce this blindly and put my data at risk.)
Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):
Steps to Reproduce:
1. Run preupgrade
3. Follow instructions in summary above
/etc/fstab corrupted, system unbootable!
/etc/fstab should be left undisturbed until Anaconda is ready to put new contents in it, and then the change should be done in an atomic transaction. Moreover, Anaconda/preupgrade should provide progress bars indicating progress so that it's clear when it has or hasn't hung/frozen.
# rpm -q anaconda
Checking whether this has been fixed (wondering whether I can trust preupgrade again in the future).
Changing components, since preupgrade does not modify fstab at any point.
What's your partition/disk layout like? Unless you had something *really* strange in fstab, I'm thinking this is probably a combination of two things:
1) Bad UI
preupgrade gave anaconda enough info to skip most of the prompts.. except the 'Upgrade which system?' one. So when you hit 'Next' there, it went into a bunch of long-running code and didn't give you any feedback about what it was doing. You (understandably) thought it had hung, and rebooted the system.
2) Delay in updating fstab
You're absolutely right; fstab should be updated atomically (and the original fstab should be saved, for safety's sake).
In Fedora 10, anaconda gives much better feedback about what it's doing - it gives progress windows for pretty much every long-running part of the upgrade process. Furthermore preupgrade-1.0.0 directs it to perform the upgrade (almost) completely automatically, so there's none of this "Click Next and nothing seems to happen" stuff.
So I think the UI issues are solved, but I don't know if anaconda is updating fstab atomically and/or keeping a backup. Would definitely like to see the latter in F11, at least.
Thanks for the comments. That makes sense.
My fstab is a bit weird but not totally outlandish:
/dev/sda5 ext3 /
/dev/sda6 ext3 /usr
/dev/sda7 ext3 /var
/dev/sda9 ext3 /opt
/dev/sda10 ext3 /scratch
/dev/sdb5 ext3 /home.old
and in particular /boot is on /, not on a separate partition of its own (something that I recall has caused issues in other contexts in the past), so I suspect that you have accurately explained it.
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F10 anaconda does make a backup copy of the fstab before writing a new one, so you'll be able to recover that. The real question here is what was happening in that long pause. Delays of that length are definitely not expected, which is why there's no UI feedback going on there. It seems to me there may be some sort of strange hardware probing delay going on, but we don't really have any way of determining that without being able to reproduce the problem.
James, Will - ever seen anything like the very long delay in upgrades like is described in the initial comment?
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