Sun, 30 Mar 2003
Operating system upgrade nightmare

So I was pretty excited when Mandrake 9.1 was released last Friday - I've been waiting for a long time to upgrade from 8.1 (I never install a dot-zero release, even given the good reception 9.0 received).

Download and CD burn went smoothly. The CD didn't boot on my machine though, which had me concerned for a while. Reading the docs though, they mention that the first CD has some new-fangled autoboot mechanism. The second CD has the old, reliable mechanism. I used that, and it worked fine. The install went without a hitch, detecting my old partitions and all (though they don't seem to detect existing users, which would be extremely useful...)

This all happened in the space of about half an hour, and I was very happy. Until I booted up. X11 just refused to work. All flickery and such. After poking around for a while, I discovered that it wasn't X11 - that worked fine - but all KDE applications just quit as soon as they opened a window. Turns out that Mandrake had compiled Qt (a fundamental building-clock of KDE) to require the RENDER extension in X11 - and my crappy cheap video card doesn't support that. I discovered this after about a couple of hours and several emails on the very helpful mandrake mailing lists (using Evolution ... shudder.) I installed nicer Qt RPMs supplied by one of the mailing list users, and all was well.

Then on to firewall configuration. Well, long story short is that it took me another few hours to convince the Mandrake tools that I don't have a ppp+ connection to the internet, and yes I'd like Rachel's PC to be able to use my shared drives even if I don't want the rest of the Internet to.

I ended up upgrading to a GeForce 4 (AU$100 for a name-brand 440SE with 64Mb RAM - nice bargain) and all was well and zoomy (850fps in gears, nice :).

That was until my boot hard disk appeared to catch fire (no, really, it made an orange flash and there was a strong burning smell!)

So now I'm looking for a new boot disk (fortunately, it was the boot disk, not one of the data disks).

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