Upgrading to Mandriva Linux 2008.0 is a pain!
So I finally decided to upgrade my Mandriva Linux 2007.1 installation to the new 2008.0 release. I expected the upgrade to be quick and painless, but it was the opposite. Not only the upgrade failed for some unknown reason, but before it started to fail, the "remaining time" field was displaying "07:03". I first thought "7 minutes and 3 seconds", but after an hour or so, I realized it meant "7 hours and 3 minutes". Arghhh!!! So I went back watching TV (fortunately, there were two episodes of NCIS at that time). While giving a quick look at my PC, I realized a message was displayed informing me it couldn’t install cryptsetup. WTF??? I first clicked "try again", but the same error came back. Of course, clicking "pass" didn’t help as many other RPMs couldn’t be installed, probably due to the missing RPM. So I rebooted the system, tried again, but now selecting as few packages as possible, to have at least a minimal installation to work with. Again unsuccessful, but now due to another missing RPM.
So I decided to do a fresh install instead of a 7 hours-long non-working upgrade. Selecting KDE as my default environment, it started installing RPMs again, now with a "remaining time" field of 1 hour only. *Much* better! Unfortunately, it was now complaining that it couldn’t install glibc (despite it installed cryptsetup successfully this time). Again another try, but now selecting as few RPMs as possible (avoiding KDE as it failed in my previous attempt). Same result: a package couldn’t be installed.
Fortunately, I have a dual boot and I started my Windows 2000 partition to download some additional ISO images. OpenSUSE 10.3, Fedora 8 Test 3, and Mandriva Linux 2008.0 mini (instead of the DVD ISO which I burnt for nothing as all my attempts above failed). I first wanted to test them in VirtualBox to decide which one to use to reinstall Linux, but they all failed at some point. Maybe Linux doesn’t like VirtualBox, or my system is so slow trying to run both Windows 2000 and Linux at the same time that it was in fact very slow, much slower than what I could accept. So I gave Mandriva another (and ultimate) chance and burnt the mini CD ISO. The UI let me choose between KDE, GNOME and IceWM. I selected KDE, but after the installation succeeded (finally!), I realized I was seeing IceWM. The reason was that KDE is not available on the mini CD ISO. So why letting me select it??
Well, I could at least configure rpmdrake to download missing packages from the web. But as usual, it first tries to get missing RPMs from your installation disk before downloading them, which is fine. But it was unable to find it! rpmdrake was indeed looking at /media/cdrom2, but this path was invalid. So I edited the path to look at /media/dvd but it was still ignoring my change, still asking for /media/cdrom2. So I edited /etc/fstab itself, and rpmdrake was now happy and could find /media/dvd.
I’m using Linux for 8 years now, among which 4-5 years using Mandrake/Mandriva. I always had problems installing a fresh new copy, and all upgrades failed as far as I can remember. I hoped this time the upgrade would work correctly. Sadness…
Now I understand why end-users still use Windows: it just works! Maybe Windows has many cons, but I never had any problem installing it. And I have never been so happy to have Windows 2000 still installed on my PC. I hesitated a few weeks ago to use the whole HD for Linux only, and keep Windows 2000 in a virtual box. But after this irritating and frustrating experience, I decided I would never do so. Windows 2000 will remain on my PC for a long time, despite I boot my system on Linux 99.9% of the time.
I could also tell you how Mandriva 2008.0 decided to ignore my SoundBlaster 4.1 sound card, falling back to the one installed on my motherboard, how it ate my menu bar, how it slowed down my web experience by waiting 10-15 seconds before starting loading any web page (the fix is to add "install ipv6 /bin/true" to /etc/modprobe.conf, so why not doing it by default?), etc… but I think you got the point.