SL6.1 & Anaconda woes

Posted by: mstauber Category: Development

Our 5107R ISO image was plagued by a few glitches. It was time for another go at it to see if these could be fixed. Additionally Scientific Linux released SL6.1 a few days ago and it was time to see what impact that would have on 5107R.

New 5107R ISO image:

Today I rolled up a new 5107R ISO image:

And I need some testers for it to check for the following:

- Does it install on boxes with disks > 1TB?

- Does it still give the "new lv is too large" error message when setting up partitions?

I hope it does not, because I think I found the source of both issues:

Among the updates that are part of SL-6.1 was a new Anaconda, which is used as installer on the CD's. There are plenty of interesting fixes in this Anaconda, such as listed in the RHEL errata on this page:

654360 - anaconda fails to find disks greater than 1TB
677915 - DeviceError: ('new lv is too large to fit in free space', 'sysvg1')
654436 - anaconda list-harddrives command behaviour has changed in RHEL6
702430 - Regression: list-harddrives output not always processable by part command

These four known bugs caused some grief with previous CD releases and hopefully that all should be fixed by now. I also implemented several new work arounds in our kickstart files to mitigate remaining problems.

Something else was changed and I'm not entirely happy with it yet:

Previously the 1st stage installer tried to fetch the network settings from a DHCP server. Which is fine as long as there is a DHCP server in your network. If it isn't, a long timeout happened before the install continued. Which is undesireable.

If I try to hard code some bogus network settings, then the newer Anaconda complains that the network is unreachable and propmpts with a dialogue that allows you to configure the network settings.

The same happens if I don't configure network settings in our kickstart scripts: The "configure network" dialogue pops up. So I left it at that, as it starts with "use DHCP" preselected. Which - at the worst - just adds a few more keystrokes during installation.

Which means: During the install you will be prompted twice for your network settings:

1.) After the disks have been partitioned
2.) By the initial setup installer after the first reboot and during the 1st login.

Ultimately I will probably remove the second poll for the network settings, but for now it has to remain.

Scientific Linux 6.1 released:

Scientific Linux recently released version 6.1 of their RHEL6 clone. However, they handle minor version updates slightly differently than CentOS: Manual intervention is needed to perform an update from (say) SL 6.0 to SL 6.1. To get the "old" behaviour back, we temporarily serve the RPM "sl-release-6.1" out of the BlueOnyx 5107R YUM repository. That allows a simple "yum update" call to perform an update from Scientific Linux 6.0 to Scientific Linux 6.1.

Actually "yum update" needs to run twice:

During the first run the "sl-release-6.1" RPM is installed and then during the next (automatic or manual) YUM update process all the OS related updates will be fetched from the Scientific Linux YUM repositories.

All in all the update to SL6.1 is pretty seamless and causes no ill side effects to BlueOnyx 5107R. So no hotfixes were needed for this release. Which - for a change - is nice. :o)

Aug 11, 2011 Category: Development Posted by: mstauber
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