Updating Fedora Core: Yum or Apt?

by Schuyler Erle

Recently, one of the co-located webservers that I help administer developed some fairly typical colo server problems, and it was agreed that the time had come to upgrade from Fedora Core 2 to Fedora Core 3. I volunteered to perform the upgrade remotely - the server is in California and I am in England - using Yum, the package manager that ships with Fedora Core.

I spent some time screwing around trying to find a decent yum.conf for Fedora Core 3 on the Internet, and finally found the Fedora.us wiki's FedoraSources page. I installed it in /etc, made sure that it pointed to the FC3 repositories, and ran yum upgrade. So far, so good.

Hours later, Yum had downloaded all the packages it thought it needed, and got about a third of the way through installing them, when it hung, with the Python process taking up over 200 megs of RAM, doing absolutely nothing. Control-C didn't work, and neither did a simple kill - I had to kill -9 the process ID. Then I ran yum upgrade again, hoping it would pick up where it left off.

No such luck. Yum instead started complaining of broken dependencies, and refused to install anything. Well, of course its dependencies were broken - the system was a third of the way between Fedora Core 2 and 3! Not only that, but there were apparently duplicate packages of various important things like glibc installed, each with different version numbers. I was 6,000 miles from a webserver with a now-broken packaging system. I started to sweat a little.

In desperation, I turned to APT to clean up Yum's mess. Thankfully yum install apt still worked - I think I had to make sure that Fedora Extras were enabled in the yum.conf - and, although the FedoraSources page claims that there are no APT sources for Fedora Core 3, in reality, you can change the revision number in the FC2 sources.list from 2 to 3, and it apparently does find sources for Fedora Core 3 on apt-get update.

APT whined about the tons of duplicate packages, but did clean up the mess when I ran apt-get -f install. What's more, a subsequent apt-get dist-upgrade actually did finish the upgrade to Fedora Core 3. To be fair, APT didn't know what to do about the duplicate packages and I had to remove them with this hack:

rpm -qa --qf "%{NAME}\t%{NAME}-%{VERSION}-%{RELEASE}\n" \
| sort -r \
| perl -lne '($pkg, $ver) = split; print $ver if $pkg eq $oldpkg; $oldpkg = $pkg' \
| sudo xargs -n1 rpm -e

That left a few duplicate devel packages the first time, so I ran it again. The upshot is that the machine rebooted with a shiny new Fedora Core 3 install! (Subsequent note: Okay, I did also have to move /etc/postfix/aliases.rpmsave back to /etc/posfix/aliases to get the MTA working again... But that's not the packaging system's fault, per se!)

Last week, I was upbraided by a Fedora developer for running an APT archive of GIS RPMs for Fedora Core. Given that Yum is the packaging system shipped with Fedora Core, he maintained, I should start using it and expect APT to fall by the wayside. He pointed to the halting official support for Fedora Core 3 and the lack of Fedora Extras for FC3 available from APT (which I believe is not actually so). Given my own experience - and we'll leave aside the ways in which APT provides a superior user interface (e.g. countdown timers for downloads) - I think my next move will be to apt-get remove yum from that webserver.

Was I a fool? Was I right? Did I misuse Yum somehow? Have you had similar problems or no problems at all using either Yum or Apt on Fedora Core?


2005-02-25 20:56:40
I tried Yum. It was back to apt in short order
The Fedora Core people had better find a way to make nice with apt, because yum is a very pale shadow. With apt can almost always get out of the sorts of mess yum seems to get my system into, and despite all the fiddly complexity over pinning and priorities and all that, it's a much better tool overall.

I gave yum an honest try when I went from FC2 to FC3. I didn't even install apt at first. It didn't take me long to find myself compelled to install apt. And I almost immediately stopped using yum.

Does anyone have any links regarding this tension between FC3 and major apt repositories? I hadn't heard of it, and it sounds worrying.


2005-02-26 03:54:55
no probs with yum here
I've been using yum all along & have had no problems.
2005-03-10 22:16:10
Two steps forward, one step back
CPAN was a stroke of genius. When I first saw apt it was just another distro management tool, but when I saw apt-shell I was delighted. However, I commented to a colleague at the time "this is a Linux distro - they'll replace it with something newer and less elegant in a few months", a pattern I've seen repeated with every distro in 10 years.

And hark - Yum.

Linux distros and the Linux advocacy community seem hell bent on "new" instead of "useful", "elegant" and "intuitive".

The fact that we're discussing the merrits of one or the other command line system management tools is a weighty statement of the state of Linux.

Meanwhile -- none of the packages I want are available under yum search. I popped into apt-shell and there they were...

2005-03-19 19:08:16
upgrading fedora sucks rocks with yum
Hanging in the #fedora irc channel at freenode only resulted shrugs & suggestions to do a CD upgrade from core 2 -> core 3. No one there really knew how to do a distribution upgrade with yum.

Googling was little help as well.

yum did work very well for me while working within the installed distro though.

2005-03-20 11:20:32
got the upgrade to work with yum..
got the upgrade to work with yum.. http://www.brandonhutchinson.com/Upgrading_Red_Hat_Linux_with_yum.html
2005-04-06 11:25:01
yum hung
For me, as a new fedora user both the up2date followed by yum hung. I tried 'man help' 'man man' and 'man this sucks'. Harsh times. Had to boot windows and google around and make notes then boot back into fedora and start the manual tweakage expedition. Is there a distro that is stable enough to install and run on a user desktop without the need for another, stable box, nearby to use as a help finder? One with searchable help perhaps, as it is often not intuitive to guess something like 'grub' or 'yum' is what you need to run from a console since the front end does not present it.
2005-06-23 13:41:00
yum hung
(just for the record, this is the funniest weblog comment I've ever read on ORN. woo hoo!)
2005-07-13 07:21:46
ditto -: Ubuntu only has apt ...
... and if it is good enough for the Debian guys its good enough for me ....
besides I would like my Redhat up2date to work and I am actually using K12LTSP 4.2.1's modified Fedora Cote 3 ...
I beg anyone to try and disagrre!!!???

I thankyou for your comments - since we plan to move back to Ubuntu as "Edubuntu" I think i have no need to play with yet another tool!

Right now I am trying to MPG/DVD and AVI playing working - sure sure somoe of the libavi libdvdcss whatevers are missing which is what led me here - i think ill just add the FC3 extras to apt and up2date as I am trying (yet another repository) to solve my problems with either RealPlayer or now Video4Lan which seems great under Windows already so we will see how I go ....

But i shall certainly try to keep it as simple as possible (hence v4l or realplayer...)


2005-11-22 20:50:45
FC2 to 3
I have the same problem as you, in that the server I need to update is in Canada, and I'm down here in the States. Everything I've read terrifies me (more or less) because I'm NOT THERE. So I read your apt-get info (by the way, I am an apt-get fan), but I end up with this after running
apt-get dist-upgrade
Unmet Dependencies...
hwdata: Conflicts: kudzu (< 1.1.86) but is to be installed
E: Error, pkgProblemResolver::Resolve generated breaks, this may be caused by held packages

Wunnerful. My version of kudzu is TOO NEW???


--Jerry Wright