Upgrade/Reinstall from Fedora 19 to Fedora 20

Posted on Sat 04 January 2014 in Linux

Fedora LogoSince the Fedora 20 release called Heisenbug is now some weeks old and the first updates are available I decided to update my Thinkpad. As described in older posts I prefer to reinstall the system partition and only keep my /home partition which contains all my stuff.

This time I decided to migrate away from the default GNOME based spin of Fedora to the KDE based. Over the time they made a good job in screwing all this small GNOME stuff up and since I started a QT based project some weeks ago I need to install the QT dependencies anyway. But for my all day work I will still stick with the small i3wm tiling window manger just because I like the keyboard based window alignment.

The reinstallation works fine, I used the custom partitioning and reformated only my /boot and / partition. The disk is encrypted and it worked as expected with Luks through the complete reinstallation process. Of course you have to enter your pass phrase before you're able to edit the encrypted partitions and mark them for reformating if you want to do so. For the data or home partition just set the mount point and of course don't mark it for reformating if you want to keep your data. I usually keep only my data partition but this hardly depends on your setup. Keep in mind that for example the default directory for virtual machines is located in /var and this is by default part of your system partition if you don't have a custom partitioning layout. You should review your existing configuration and files and have a complete backup before you start with such an update.

My i3wm configuration needs some modifications now because I used some gnome components in the past to manage sound and brigthness buttons on my thinkpad. I will provide some documentation for those who might also want to replace this gnome based stuff with smaller tools or tools which are incluced in the KDE spin by default.

There is a known bug with the kwallet component which should provide the safed password at login time for you wifi. It looks like the order for the component start leads to a annoying second password input window at login time in KDE but they are working on it to fix it. For some more information have a look here, on the time I wrote this the fix is on its way: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1043195

The Fedora 20 release for me looks quite good up to now. I installed it on two of my machines. The Thinkpad works without bigger problems and only needs my custom configurations applied as usual while on my new workstation there is a small problem with the initialization with some of my USB ports at boot time. Devices connected to this ports need to be reconnect after boot. I had no time to investigate deeper but opened a (lousy described) bug (https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1046971) , maybe someone else is facing this problem on an ASUS Z87 Pro Board, too. Up to this both systems work very nice. Because my Thinkpad has an old dual graphics solution with an integrated Intel and an dedicated AMD HD 4200 card there where some problems with each distribution in the past. I decided to disable the AMD graphics in the Bios because I don't need it and the system works more stable. Some problems which still appears with Fedora 20 and the enabled switcheroo stuff are disabled displays or brightness levels or high energy consumption if the AMD graphics is enabled. For example my display got disabled after I logged in into KDE. It was enabled the complete boot process but after the powersafe daemon in KDE started the screen was black and the brightness level on my console was on minimal level. I didn't figured out how to reset this but had no time to investigate anyway this problem is gone with disabling the switchable graphic configuration in Bios.

With the Fedora 20 release some old tools are not installed by default anymore. The systemd daemon is more widely used and this brings some changes to the system you should be aware of since this changes will be included in the complete Linux landscape over the time. Because I use CentOS and RedHat Enterprise Linux for many production servers I will write a more detailed blog post to show the different within the system.