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RPM upgrade


If you're one of those people who get off on excitement and can't wait
to have the the adrenaline coursing through your bloodstream, here's a
quick and easy way to achieve it:  upgrade Redhat 6.2 to use RPM 4.0.

Following Mithun's excellent instructions, I downloaded
rpm-4.0.1-0.6x.i386.rpm from somewhere on rpmfind.net.  The 6x is
important, since it indicates that the RPM is for RH 6.x.  Ah, I
thought, now just an rpm -U and I'm through.  Boy, was I mistaken!

Trying to install (upgrade) to rpm-4 first barfed with missing
libdb-3.1.  No problems, just go to rpmfind.net and download the libdb
RPM and install it, you'd think.  Well, think again!  The only
libdb-3.x rpm that rpmfind.net throws at you is meant for: don't miss
this! Cygwin!  Ack!  Ptui!

Back to the 'net, this time to Google searching for libdb 3.1 (tujhko
rakhe Ram, tujhko Allah rakhe, de Data ke naam, tujhko Allah rakhe).
Found an obscure Yahoo mailing list page which talked about one poor
soul's 8-hours odyssey in getting rpm 4.0 to install from source.
After weeping a few commiserating tears on his behalf, I did find a
subtle hint that a site called (appropriately enough :) rpm.org may be
able to assist in locating the offending package.

Off to rpm.org, and the FTP section.  Gnawing nails, wondering whether
the FTP server would do what most FTP servers do to me nowadays: kick
me off with ``No more users in your host class, please try again''.
LART MTNL for not being clued-in enough to provide reverse DNS for
their premium dial-up users (yeah, I'm a premium user, even if I buy
only the Rs. 25 package -- at least I know what DNS is, dammit!)
Someone had screwed up somewhere, since this time the FTP server let
me in without a whimper -- Heads Will Roll For This.

I was getting closer to my goal and the excitement was almost
unbearable!  I called for another large water on the rocks and
continued pressing the left mouse button with an enthusiasm worthy of
a better cause, and there it was, staring me in the face:
db3-3.1.17-4.6x.i386.rpm!  Eureka!  I ran naked from my bath into the
streets of Athens... Wait... Cancel that, that was another lifetime.
I drank the last few drops from the glass and started the download.

The download went off uneventfully (must say this for MTNL -- when you
connect, you stay connected).  Even the rpm -U libdb-3 went off
without a hitch.  Now the Real Thing:

rpm -Uvh /tmp/rpm-4.whatever.rpm

Wow!  It works!  Except for a couple of minor issues with not being
able to delete some directories under /usr/src/redhat, the upgrade

Then it hit me: i had still to migrate my existing rpm database the
new format!  Damn and double-damn!  What if it screwed up?  Would I
never be able to touch a computer again in my life?  Would I be
excommunicated and ceremoniously drummed out of the Indian Linux
community?  Would small children laugh and throw Winduhs CD's at me as
I walked the streets alone, a despicable figure wearing a suit and a
tie, highly polished shoes on my feet, carrying a shiny fake-leather
briefcase?  In other words, WOULD I BECOME A MANAGER!!??!

Alea jacta est (which translates from the Latin as ``The die has been
cast'') (you have to have a classical education to figure out my
meaningful quotes -- either that, or read enough Asterix comics).  I
had upgraded the RPM, and there was no option but to upgrade the
database too.  Shuddering, I typed out rpm --rebuilddb.  Uplifted my
hands in prayer to the Gods Who Look After Redhat Users In Their Spare
Time.  My hand was shaking so bad that I had to make 3 retries before
I could hit the <ENTER> key.  There!  The foul deed was done
(that's Shakespeare, for you philistines out there) and there was
naught to do but to wait... until

Yes!  A quick df revealed that there was only 29MB free on the root
partition!  What if rebuilddb runs out of disk space during the
process?  My hands raised again in supplication, my head bowed, my
mouth uttering alternately prayers to the One Who Protects Us All and
curses at redhat.com, I waited with bated breath.

I don't know whether it was the prayers or the curses (or ncurses, as
it's known nowadays) which worked, but the rebuilddb completed and I
even found to my joy that I had /more/ disk space free afterwards than
I did before!  A quick sync;sync and I was ready to...

...pass out on my chair.  When I came to, the evening gloaming was
drawing over the landscape (i.e. the road from my house to the
crossing, which is all I can see of the landscape from where I sit).
I had passed more than 10 hours in a comatose state, drained of all
energy by the experience I'd been through.  My wife told me that she
came to wake me up many-a-time, but each time her more compassionate
feelings were touched by the look of absolute horror on my face, so
she'd just satisfy herself with helping herself to some more money out
of my wallet and leaving me to recover the best I could.

I'm recovering from the experience now.  The sight of a Redhat CD
still has the power to throw me into a fainting fit, but the doctors
say that they will start me off with small things like MS-DOS and
Winduhs 3.11 floppies, and eventually I'll be able to handle the
meanest of RH distributions without so much as a tremor.  I hope
they're right, as not many people will give projects to a so-called
computer professional who starts screaming at the sight of a
well-known logo on a GDM login screen.

Wish me luck folks, and send money and pizzas for the Raju Mathur
Disaster Relief Fund to the above address.


-- Raju
[Editor's note: this was dictated to a professional typist by the
author.  Raju is still unable to touch a computer keyboard without
screaming, though we're told that he has graduated now to picking out
``Doh, a deer, a fe-male deer'' with one finger on his daughter's
Casio.  We wish him a quick recovery.]
Raju Mathur          raju@xxxxxxxxxxxxx           http://kandalaya.org/