Tag Archives: sysadmin

Dapper to Hardy in 23 painful hours

I I finally set about upgrading my home server1 from Dapper to Hardy yesterday. I had been hoping for a less traumatic experience then upgrading my desktop computer from Dapper to Gusty2. Unfortunately I once again ran into problems. First off, it’s been nearly a week since Hardy was officially released but when I tried to run the official upgrade tools they all initially told me I was running the latest version. According to the documentation, I should have been able to run either sudo do-release-upgrade or sudo update-manager but neither worked. I was only able to start the upgrade process by running sudo update-manager -d and my understanding is that “-d” tells the program to grab the latest development version. Weird, but oh well. Then the process just dragged on and on and on and on and on…. I eventually went to bed leaving it running. The only reason I stayed up as late as I did with it was the excellent book I was reading.

When I got up this morning, it was still running but was hung up on a question I needed to answer. I clicked through the question and a few more before heading off to work. When I got home, again the upgrade was hung up on a question. I worked my way through answering all the questions and let the upgrader do its job. Unfortunately the upgrader eventually failed on these packages: gnome-applets-data, gnome-applets, ubuntu-desktop and update-manager. I clicked through the errors and then the upgrader said:

Could not install the upgrades
The upgrade aborts now. Your system could be in an unusable state. A recovery will run now (dpkg –configure -a).

I clicked ok to the error, something flashed up and then the upgrader died/vanished/went away. I tried running:

  • sudo aptitude update but it sat there for far too long for my sleep deprived and impatient self.
  • sudo aptitude upgrade, only it said there wasn’t anything to upgrade.
  • sudo aptitude autoclean, *shrug* it's part of my standard script for updating my systems.
  • sudo aptitude dist-upgrade, only it said there wasn’t anything to upgrade.
  • sudo dpkg --configure -a, it said there were unconfigured packages but it couldn’t fix them automagically. It mostly complained about gnome-applets-data.

I ended up running sudo aptitude install gnome-applets-data gnome-applets ubuntu-desktop update-manager and that fixed up those errors no problem. For giggles of insanity I tried running sudo aptitude -s -f install to see what else might be left to update3. It found another 111 packages it wanted to remove but some of them I want to keep, so I’ll have to look into that more closely. Most likely all these errors were caused by my own foolishness, as at one point I was testing some stuff out on the machine and enabled some 3rd party repositories to install unsupported apps. *blech* I don’t think I’ll be doing that again. I was able to reboot the machine and connect to it via SSH and SMB, but HTTP seems to be broken at the moment. *bugger* Apache is one of the packages sudo aptitude -s -f install wanted to remove. I guess looking into that just got bumped up my priority list.

1 An old Dell Dimension desktop with a PII-400 CPU and 256 MB of RAM.
2 Never fear, Fritz (my desktop PC) is next on my list of machines to upgrade.
3 More accurately, I found some instructions when upgrading my desktop from Dapper to Gusty that recommended doing that to ensure all apps got updated.

Library Fixed and Other Changes

The library issues I was having appear to be resolved. When I upgraded WordPress, I simply overwrote the existing files (‘cuz I’m lazy) and then I went into my permalink settings and hit the update button (without actually making any changes). This is supposed to be enough to get the plugin I use for the library to reset the permalinks but that didn’t happen this time. I ended up deleting all of WordPress’ core file, re-uploading them, changing my webhost’s configuration to support PHP5, upgrading to the very latest copy of the plugin and re-saving my permalink settings before I was able to get the library working correctly again.

Other Changes

I also noticed when I upgraded/changed themes last time I forgot to add back in the magic codes to have ads from Google AdSense appear in a couple of places on my site. Those are ads are now back, though I do use another plugin to hide them from regular readers and on current content. Basically, if you are just stopping by (e.g. found me via a search engine) you will see ads. If you’ve been here a few times in the past couple of weeks, then you most likely won’t. Mind you these ads aren’t making me rich1, but they do help offset the costs of my online addiction webhosting.

New Theme

Yeah, I wasn’t a big fan of the previous theme I was using but it was good enough for a short term solution. The current theme2 is better but still needs more tweaks to make it mine. Things are likely to be in a state of flux until further notice around here. Things I still need to do:

  • Add one or more random photos to the sidebar or possibly the footer.
  • Work up a better header image.
  • Style the footer more to my liking.
  • Fix the sidebar formatting issues in IE3

1 I haven’t even had enough clicks on the silly Google AdSense ads to get paid yet
2 In case you happen to be curious, it’s a slightly tweaked version of the Shades of Gray style for the Sandbox theme.
3 Odds of this happening are tiny. I only use IE at work and then only rarely. If the slight offsets in the sidebar offends your design sensibilites, get Firefox!

WordPress Upgrade

I’ve finally upgraded CoffeeBear.net to WordPress 2.5. I’m in the process of getting everything settled in properly and at the moment my library is working quite so nicely. At the moment the link for the library at the top of the page does not work (you’ll get a blank page) however if you go to any of the books in my sidebar you’ll find a working link to the actual library page on the individual book page. Also the nicely rewritten links for the library aren’t working correctly either. *shrug* Not sure what’s going on there, but I’ll post again and/or update this post once I’ve sorted it out. If you happen to notice any other problems with this site, please leave a comment under this post so I know to look into it.


Windows Heck

On Easter Sunday, my wife and I went to her sister’s for lunch1. While we were there, the relatives sprang a couple of broken computers on me asking me to fix them2. Since we were getting really good grub3, I figured I could at least take a look. Of course, neither person with a broken machine had any useful CDs with them, though one did run home to see if she had any there (nope). I ended up taking both machines home and working on them in my spare time. Today, I finally fixed one of them and I fixed it by following the instructions I found in this article: Windows XP Crashed? Here’s Help. That worked really well in helping me fix the XP laptop dumped on me, but the other machine is an older WinME desktop. I’m still working on that one, but fortunately there’s no rush on the WinME box. Still I’m thrilled that I’ve got one of them fixed and can relax a bit4.

1 We had an extremely yummy lamb roast.
2 For the record, I’m a database guy these days not a support tech. *sigh*
3 And free, never forget free! *grin*
4 Yes, I’m still reading those wretched fun Wheel of Time books.

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