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Computers & Software

The Great Sluggo Crash of 2007 Part II

In Part I, Sluggo, the aptly named Linux computer that is my workhorse, crashed and burned.  I found myself updating from Suse 9.2 to 10.1.  Now I could boot the computer, but a lot of stuff didn’t work.  Among the problems, in no particular order:

Software installation trouble

10.1 has two software installers: traditional Yast and Zenworks.  Zenworks was broken, though apparently this was fixed in the remastered edition of 10.1.  I had to update a few times with Yast to get it to work.  See this site for more info:

 http://www.thisishull.net/showthread.php?p=952889#post952889

Once I fixed this, I could get the software updates from Zenworks.  I’m still not sure why there are both programs.  It looks like Zenworks is set up to get the automatic security updates, but Yast is better for installing and uninstalling programs.  Zenworks seems real slow however, and so far I am not impressed that it is a step forward.

No SVK!

I use SVK for version control (see previous posts).  SVK is a bunch of perl scripts, and 10.1 updated the version of perl.  When this happened, all my old perl scripts were left behind, including awstats, which I use to get statistics on my web site.  Well, I just had to reinstall SVK and the rest from the CPAN perl repository and, long story short, it worked.

Networking

I couldn’t access the other computers on the network at first.  As usual this turned out to be a firewall issue.  10.1 “modernizes” the network interface, using KNetwork instead of the traditional ifconfig Linux network tools.  Shutting this off and tweaking the firewall did the trick.  Moreover, my website now showed up, but…

No Blog!

The problem here was MySql which is required for the WordPress blog software was not starting at bootup.  I ended up fixing this and then reinstalling the PHP modules for apache2.  It worked.

DVDs, MP3, etc.

The only software I have found that plays my DVDs well on Sluggo is Okle.  It was broken by the upgrade, I think because I had compiled it under 9.2.  Ogle, the command line interface actually worked.  So I recompiled the source for Okle, and there I was, ready to go back to watching my Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Ultraman DVDs!  My MP3 files did not work under XMMS either.  However Amarok worked for this, so again, problem solved.

At this point I was back in business.  So, of course, not content, I got hold of a better motherboard that actually worked (the whole reason for what happened in Part I) and installed it.  Everything worked except one thing.  Sluggo remembered the MAC address of the old motherboard ethernet interface and assigned the new one to eth1 instead of eth0.  eth0 no longer existed, but the whole network interface depended on it.  So, more internet googling, and eventually I figured out that the eth name are assigned by udev, which is another complicated program that I managed to learn enough about to fix the problem.  Basically, for the sake of anyone else who might have this problem, I edited the 30-net-persistent-names.rules in /etc/udev/rules.d and made eth0 the right MAC address.  Fixed!

Sluggo was back in perfect shape, and faster than before (but still slow by modern standards).  I learned a lot in the process, including the realization that upgrading hardware and operating systems is not for the faint of heart.  One suggestion I have that I have been following for a long time is to keep a log or diary of what you do when you fix something.   My LinuxTweaks file is 1500 lines long.  And as much trouble as all the above was, little did I know that even more danger was ahead, to be described in my next installment, The Great MonsterMagnet Crash of 2007.  See you then.

By mannd

I am a retired cardiac electrophysiologist who has worked both in private practice in Louisville, Kentucky and as a Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver. I am interested not only in medicine, but also in computer programming, music, science fiction, fantasy, 30s pulp literature, and a whole lot more.

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