Upgrading Red Hat 9 to CentOS 4.5

It’s been a few months since I last posted an entry to my blog. Life has been busy. This blog has been busy, in terms of web traffic to my Anonymous Letters and Starbucks posts below.

Time for a tech post. I had the privilege of upgrading an ancient Red Hat 9 Linux box to CentOS 4.5. Red Hat Linux has been EOL for a very long time, and was superceded by Fedora, which has had seven major releases. That’s the equivalent of running Windows 3.1 😉 Well, not quite :) Anyhow, the box at hand appeared to be a custom web server. I will outline the steps I used to successfully upgrade it to CentOS 4.5.

1. Download the CentOS 4.5 CD set or DVD image from www.centos.org.
2. Put in CD 1 or the DVD image.
3. Reboot the old Red Hat 9 box and ensure that the BIOS allows booting from the CD/DVD drive.
4. Enter the following at the linux boot prompt and press Enter: linux upgradeany
5. The system will happily hum along while Red Hat 9 is upgraded to CentOS 4.5.
6. If ‘yum’ wasn’t installed, you will need to install it:
rpm -ivh http://centos.arcticnetwork.ca/4.5/os/i386/CentOS/RPMS/python-elementtree-1.2.6-5.el4.centos.i386.rpm
rpm -ivh http://centos.arcticnetwork.ca/4.5/os/i386/CentOS/RPMS/sqlite-3.3.6-2.i386.rpm
rpm -ivh http://centos.arcticnetwork.ca/4.5/os/i386/CentOS/RPMS/python-sqlite-1.1.7-1.2.1.i386.rpm
rpm -ivh http://centos.arcticnetwork.ca/4.5/os/i386/CentOS/RPMS/python-urlgrabber-2.9.8-2.noarch.rpm
rpm -ivh http://centos.arcticnetwork.ca/4.5/os/i386/CentOS/RPMS/yum-2.4.3-3.el4.centos.noarch.rpm

7. Now, run the following command and press Enter: yum update
8. Allow yum to run and update the required packages. Reboot if yum downloads and installs a new kernel.
9. Since the box in question had a custom Apache and PHP configuration, I reinstalled them manually:
yum install httpd
yum install php
yum install mysql
yum install mysql-server
yum install php-mysql

10. I had to update the MySQL configuration to point to the correct socket:
Update my.cnf:
instead of
and add the following to use your existing database passwords
11. Copy any required PHP extensions to new system path:
cp -R /usr/local/lib/php/extensions/* /usr/lib/php4
12. Edit /etc/php.ini:
error_reporting = E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE

13. Finally, set services to start up automatically:
chkconfig –level 345 httpd on
chkconfig –level 345 mysqld on
chkconfig –level 345 sendmail on

14. There you have it. The server should be happily running CentOS 4.5 now. Remember to keep it up-to-date by running yum update regularly.

Now Running Ubuntu Server 7.04

I finally decided to upgrade my Ubuntu Server 6.10 install to the latest version, 7.04 (Feisty Fawn). Out of habit, I now wait a few weeks before upgrading to the latest version of anything to ensure any last minute bugs get worked out.

Best of all, I upgraded the entire OS remotely using SSH. Upgrading your OS remotely is usually not a good idea, but if you know what you’re doing, go for it! Ensure you backup any custom/modified configuration files just in case you press a wrong key during the upgrade! :) The upgrade worked well, with the exception of recompiling eAccelerator (to work with PHP 5.2.2) and updating a line (see below) of code in WordPress to make everything work smoothly.

Immediately following the upgrade, I noticed that my WordPress blog was loading very slowly and I also noticed random strings of hexadecimal characters at the top of the main blog page.

If you upgrade your server to Ubuntu Server 7.04 and run WordPress 2.1.x, ensure that you change line 832 in wp-includes/functions.php to the following (all on one line):

@header($_SERVER[“SERVER_PROTOCOL”].” “.$header.” “.$text, true, $header);

Once you make the above change, your blog should load normally.

Update (5.15.2007):

With WordPress 2.2 (released today), the aforementioned WordPress fix is now irrelevant.

Upgrading Ubuntu Server 6.06 to 6.10 (Edgy)

On October 26, the Ubuntu team released a new version of Ubuntu, 6.10 (aka Edgy). I waited a couple of days for them to work out any last minute bugs, and decided to proceed with the upgrade today.

In the Ubuntu 6.10 / Edgy release notes, Ubuntu recommends the following procedure to upgrade from Dapper to Edgy:

# apt-get dist-upgrade && apt-get dist-upgrade

That will not work. Why? Because sources.list needs to be updated first (and apt-get update needs to be run beforehand).

Continue reading “Upgrading Ubuntu Server 6.06 to 6.10 (Edgy)”

Life in the Fast Lane

If there’s one thing I really hate, it’s slow computers.

With all the recent price cuts in the CPU world, I decided it would be a good time to upgrade my Pentium 4 3.2 GHz system. It was fast, but when one multitasks like I do, nothing is fast enough.

I decided to go with an Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 CPU paired with an ASRock 775DUAL-VSTA motherboard. As the motherboard supports both DDR and DDR2 RAM, I went with an 1 GB (dual channel) Mushkin EM2 DDR2-667 4-4-4-12 kit. What’s unique about the ASRock 775DUAL-VSTA is its ability to support both AGP and newer PCI-E video cards, as well as DDR and DDR2 RAM (read: one or the other). The motherboard allows for greater flexibility when upgrading existing systems, allowing one to upgrade to newer technology over time.

My new hardware configuration quenches my thirst for speed. Point. Click. Done. That’s the way it should be. A real-life example: 52 Windows XP updates installed in 2 minutes flat. Impressive.

Continue reading “Life in the Fast Lane”