So now for the last of the big boxes. Heavy is running Fedora 17, with 14 two-terabyte drives (three four-port sata controllers plus two sata ports on the motherboard). And all those drives are in use, and pretty much full.
So I decided not to downsize the server. It's been running reliably for six years now. But there were a couple of changes I wanted to make.
The system drive was an 8gb CF card, connected to the pata port via a clever little adaptor. But that was 90% full, and that's more than I like. Also, I wanted to upgrade the box to gigabit ethernet. But there's no spare PCI slots. Nowhere to put a gigabit card.
So the answer is a USB-gigabit dongle. It sits on a USB port, and gives me gigabit ethernet, if only I knew how to tell the server about it. So, two birds with one stone.
I took out the 8gb CF card (which gives me a useful line of retreat if it all goes pear-shaped) and my box of bits yielded a 15gb SSD card with a sata interface. But all my sata interfaces are in use. Never mind; I have a clever little gizmo that connects to a pata port, and talks to a sata drive. I cobbled that together, and tried to install Fedora 24, because I know (from trying it out on another box) that Fedora 24 can autodetect the gigabit USB and make it work, without me having to tell it how.
That's one of the great thngs about linux. With Windows, you're forever having to find and install drivers, and the drivers for one version of Windows don't always work on future versions. With linux, things just work. The installer takes a look around, works out what it'll need, and installs the necessary.
Except it didn't. Fedora 24 wouldn't install. I got as far as the screen where it looks to see what drives are connected, and it sat there forever. Fedora 23 the same. Also Fedora 22. Fedora 21 had a somewhat different problem, but Fedora 20 installed just fine, autodetected everything and the gigabit ethernet worked.
So, I thought, now we've got linux installed, let's upgrade to Fedora 24. And here's how.
I didn't bother to backup all my data, because A) backing up 28 terabytes is a major pain, and B) I already have that backed up and C) there's nothing on the system drive, which is the one at risk, apart from my freshly installed Fedora 20.
First I used "yum update" to get Fedora 20 as up to date as possible. That took ages. Then I did:
fedup-cli --network 24 --product=server
To tell it to upgrade to version 24, and to get whatever it needed from the internet. That almost worked. It lacked a signed GPG, so I told it --nogpgcheck and it almost worked. I had to yum update a couple of the packages, and then I had to reboot. Rebooting took *ages* because after it rebooted, it installed all the stuff it had downloaded.
And then I rebooted again, and it was running Fedora 24! With gigabit ethernet!