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Matts (1087)

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I work for MessageLabs [] in Toronto, ON, Canada. I write spam filters, MTA software, high performance network software, string matching algorithms, and other cool stuff mostly in Perl and C.

Journal of Matts (1087)

Thursday April 04, 2002
05:13 AM

Cross-grading my laptop

[ #3964 ]

I've been itching to try KDE3 on my laptop, but upgrading to the new KDE3 RPMS (I run RH 7.2) was proving very difficult indeed. So I took a kind of radical approach...

I first downloaded and installed apt, from Conectiva - they basically ported apt to work with RPMs.

Then I set my source.lst file to point to Conectiva's snapshot directories (kind of like a moving beta).

Then I said:

apt-get update
apt-get dist-upgrade

This got me some of the way, but a lot of modules failed to update (causing the whole thing to fail) due to dependencies. I removed quite a few things, then force-installed a few things, and kept trying, and eventually it all went in.

Then I removed KDE2:

rpm -e `rpm -qa | egrep ^kde`

(and also had to remove 3 modules that the above missed, that depended on KDE)

Then I installed KDE3:

apt-get install task-kde

And now I have a wonderful new working Conectiva Linux box, running KDE3.

Now a LOT of this failed along the way, and so I'm glossing over the details - remember that Red Hat and Conectiva have some very different config files, so I had to fix quite a few things, reconfigure X, and all sorts of funny bits and pieces. But yeah, now I'm running kernel 2.4.18 on my laptop with KDE3...

Now KDE3 is nice. Really nice. In fact it's absolutely gorgeous. Kmail now does IMAP just right (check mail in *all* folders for example), Kate makes for a really sweet editor, konqueror has seen some nice improvements, and generally I'm very happy with it. I think it's even a tiny wee bit faster, though I won't stake my life on it ;-)

Anyway, it was kinda fun seeing how I could cross-upgrade a machine to a completely different OS. I wouldn't say it went smoothly, but it was smoother than I honestly expected it to be. I am a happy bunny.

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  • I'm currently trying to do (kind of) the reverse. Move from KDE2 to Gnome 1.4. Originally my laptop was a SuSE installation and they seem to rely on KDE in a big way. Having got Gnome up and running it seems almost impossible to remove KDE completely as lots of things have dependencies. Perhaps the answer is to do it manually rather than via YaST2...
    • Why remove it? Is it for lack of space?

      Anyway, getting gnome is generally quite easy:
      lynx -source | /bin/sh
      Removing KDE wasn't too hard for me. SuSE uses RPMs so why don't you try the method I used?
  • Ya know, that's exactly why I don't like Linux. Try and install anything and the whole system feels like it's strung together like christmas tree lights. Cross-grading like this always makes it worse. :-)

    Guess I'm just a BSD kinda guy at heart. Glad to hear that KDE3 is working out so well. It's high up on my list of things to install when it comes time to refresh my desktop at home. :-)

    • <rant>
      Well people see stories like mine and think "Eek, what a nightmare - that would be so much easier in BSD", but that's complete and utter crap.

      Had I waited for KDE3 to appear in RH 7.2's updates tree, or even waited for RH 7.3, I could upgrade trivially using up2date, and there would be no "dependency hell". None. I could have even done the upgrade directly using apt-get, once I'd installed apt. Exactly like BSD people talk about how they can do the same using ports.

      Now if you decided to cross-
      • Now if you decided to cross-upgrade OpenBSD to FreeBSD - would it be a simple matter of setting the right lines in some config files and force-installing a few apps?

        I don't think it matters. I can't imagine a situation where someone wants to convert a *BSD installation to another *BSD installation on a live system without reinstalling.

        Sorry, but the BSD eliteness sometimes gets on my nerves. It may have a more sensible directory layout, but if I want to try out new software and play with the latest

        • Fair enough. I didn't feel like I was exuding BSD eliteness above; sorry if it came across that way.

          Not you really - I just see a lot of it in general. The problems with linux that BSD users tend to cite are often long-solved (as in "yes, they existed - yes, we fixed them" (with the "we" being not me there ;-)). Apart from SysV init. That will always be my very own personal hell. But what can you do ;-)
      • Now if you decided to cross-upgrade OpenBSD to FreeBSD....

        Apples and Oranges. (Open|Free|Net)BSD all share a common heritage, but you can't consider them to be similar to different Linux distributions.

        The BSD's are distinct operating systems. Different libc's radically different kernel structures, etc.

        Think of it this way. Sybase and MSSQL have the same ancestors. They use roughly the same protocol for communication in TDS, just as OpenBSD can run FreeBSD binaries. But despite similarities and common

        • Sorry, but this is the same on Red Hat now that we have apt (and probably works with up2date too, but I haven't tried it).

          If you want to upgrade RH 7.1 to 7.2, first install apt (you can find the RH version via google). Then:

          Simply edit /etc/apt/sources.lst and comment out the RH 7.1 lines and uncomment the 7.2 lines (yes this is slightly less automatic than updating CVS, but likely a lot quicker). Then type "apt-get dist-upgrade". You're now running Red Hat 7.2.

          And yes, it does "just plain work", as lon
        • You'd have gone to /usr/ports, done a cvs update, just in case, and done a make package inside the appropriate kde ports directories.

          Ports and update by cvs is what finally sold me on OpenBSD.

          In the spirit of fairness, Ports are great, but they have fundementally broken bits lurking inside.

          Ports started out as a weekend hack Jordan Hubbard was able to throw together. It's proven to be an effective way to getting software onto a system, but the dependency checks aren't quite right, and deinstalling

          • In the spirit of fairness, I have to admit that I don't use BSD on the desktop. Ports, for me, have been helpful for things not in default OpenBSD, such as ncftp, wget, links, and the like.

            I'm a recent linux refugee. I've converted almost all my servers to OpenBSD or FreeBSD, but there's still Redhat 7.2 staring at me out from my laptop screen. I've been tempted to wipe and do (Free|Open)BSD on my laptop (A Thinkpad 600), except, because most things are ports, and are compiled, I'm too impatient to wait

        • If you're upgradnig ports, at all, ever, then run, don't walk to /usr/ports/sysutils/portupgrade and make install.

          It's the easiest way to manage ports in FreeBSD, even though it's written in lots of ugly ruby.

          Michael Lucas wrote a very good article [] about it recently on onlamp []

    • After about 3 years as a BSD guy I am switching back to Linux. At least in FreeBSD the dependancies goes totally @#$%@$# as soon as you try to upgrade complex packages (like gnome).

      They do for me anyway.

      A standard Linux installation (SuSE and RedHat are the ones I have used lately) is really really smooth and well configured to do work right from the install.

      FreeBSD is nice for servers; not for "workstations".

      -- ask bjoern hansen [], !try; do();