Thursday, December 11, 2014

2014: Switching Linux Distros, How Is It?

Fedora 21 (the torrent link is here) is released yesterday and I started to download the torrent around 5pm. I believe I got the news of the torrent being ready from my twitter feed. Fedora 21 is ready at last.

This is today after yum update and some additional repos downloaded for third party packages.



I did mention in my previous post that I am switching distros to see how easy it is to do this at this stage of linux development. The requirement of course is that my data would be preserved after the switch. I had openSuse 13.2 running in my computer and this is the switch to Fedora 21.

It worked very very well.

I've been monitoring my fedora mailing list and there are a few fedup upgrades that weren't going the way it was suppose to. My experience doing this switch is a happier story. I got my home directory mounted. No data loss.

The key to a successful switch like this is partitioning. A separate home directory is important to protect your data. I added up to the challenge by having a two-device plus a partition setup in a RAID0 home directory. So I have / in a separate partition formatted to btrfs, 40 GB space. I let the Fedora installer know that I have an existing RAID0 partition for my home. But make sure that the installer is not formatting this volume. This home partition is formatted in Xfs.

In summary, I want Fedora 21 installed in my / directory, replacing openSuse 13.2. I want my data mounted in place. I am using GNOME 3.14 and I expect that same desktop to welcome me in Fedora 21. I want my configuration files and preferences preserved.

One more important element here is in user creation. Use the same username and password for Fedora 21 otherwise the installer will create a new user (with a new username). It will still mount your old home directory (with the old username) but I don't think that's what you intended.

Of course you may ask what if the situation is reversed? What's the story going to be if I am starting with Fedora and going to openSuse? The answer is that linux distro installers can handle installs like this whether it's the openSuse installer or the Fedora installer.



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