Live Upgrade ordeal SXDE -> S10 10/08

Jeff Woolsey jlw+sun at
Thu Nov 20 00:59:56 EST 2008

Because I needed to run something that checks the OS release it's
running on and throws in the towel if it sees something it shouldn't
(like 5.11, wants 5.10 or less I bet), and because Solaris 10 10/08 just
came out, I thought it was a good time to upgrade.  (For this app, a
library stub that intercepts the uname call would work, as might a
binary patch, but it's academic now as the app moved elsewhere.)

But hang on, I'm running Solaris 11 Nevada build 64a (what's current,
102, 103?) on an AMD Athlon 64 3000+ with 2GB memory, an 80GB IDE that
used to have build 56 and will have 10/08 in the first partition (not
slice), has XP Home in the 2nd partition, Debian in the 3rd (but I don't
use those any more, but might with VirtualBox) (each partition is about
25GB), a 320GB SATA drive that's sliced 8GB for S11nvb64a + swap and the
remaining 289GB is a zpool.

Live Upgrade might not believe that this is an upgrade.  I expect what
I'm trying to do is not supported (but what is planned for SXDE users to
go to S10 when they're done evaluating?) but that usually doesn't stop
me trying something, just stops me complaining to Sun about it.

There are a bunch of things configured that should challenge Live
Upgrade (not the least of which is that I'd never tried it before), such
as an LX-branded zone (on zfs), loopback mounts of the XP and Debian
partitions via a daemon, third-party driver for gigabit card, SunRay, etc.

I went through enough motions (remove those loopback NFS mounts, get
p7zip installed, etc.) to get 10/08 where I intended, and Live Upgrade
thinks so too.  So I luactivate 10/08 and try to boot it, and it fails
and panics right away.  Oh well, no problem, I'll just go back to S11.
No, can't boot that either.  You see, luactivate changed the boot menu
on BOTH disks, and it thinks that S11 can be booted the same way S10
can, with findroot/multiboot.  This S11 appears to be too old for that.

I boot from the DVD (for each OS) and try to have it upgrade itself to
itself, which should fix this.  That doesn't work because it spends 15
minutes figuring out that it doesn't have room without a backup
filesystem to do the upgrade, and when given one it spends another 15
minutes deciding that there's no way for it to lay out the filesystems
(c'mon, this is an UPGRADE, with everything on ONE filesystem!).  Both
10 and 11 do this.  I eventually discover I can just redo installgrub by
hand to get 11 bootable again.

S10 panics with something about ACPI, as far as I can tell (the screen
clears too quickly; no serial terminal handy to log it, no LOM--it's a

Because it was an upgrade, I bet the S10 there is a mongrel, with
leftover S11 packages that S10 didn't know to remove.  I'd like to avoid
the brute-force approach, which would be to install (not upgrade) over
S10 from the DVD (=downtime), and then re-customize everything from
scratch. That's a last resort (well, not upgrading at all is).  The
resort before that is to LU nv64 to S11nvb95 (much newer, and already
burned to DVD here), and then LU _that_ to 10/08.  But that may have the
same booting problems.

So, I'm out of ideas (other than brute force).  This is not
mission-critical exactly, but it is my home fileserver and all.

Advice?  Constructive, I mean....

Jeff Woolsey {woolsey,jlw},first.last at
Nature abhors a straight antenna, a clean lens, and unused storage capacity.
"Delete! Delete! OK!" -Dr. Bronner on disk space management

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