[UFO Chicago] e-mail help

Nate Riffe inkblot@movealong.dhs.org
Mon, 2 Jul 2001 16:18:11 -0500 (CDT)

On Mon, 2 Jul 2001, Nick Moffitt wrote:

> begin  Nate Riffe quotation:
> > Then at about the beginning of April, RedHat started charging for
> > access to their servers.  What do you know, now I'm running Debian,
> > and I installed it all using apt-get and dselect.  Actually, I
> > haven't rebooted yet, so some of my VTs still have the RedHat issue
> > on the screen.  It's kind of a trip to switch back and forth and see
> > different issues from different distros on the same box.
> 	Wow, so how exactly did you pull this off?  Did apt-get know
> enough to play games with the already-installed packages?  Is it
> fairly easy to go from Red Hat to Debian the way you did?  I used to
> unpack the base tarball onto a spare partition and upgrade that way.

Step 1: Go to rpmfind.net and download matching apt and dpkg RPMs from the
        Connectiva Linux (or Polish(ed) Linux) Distribution.
Step 2: Install them.
Step 3: Manually reconfigure apt (/etc/apt/apt.conf and /etc/apt/sources.list)
        so that it will get things from Debian's servers.  Note that
        Debian's package files are gzipped, not bzipped (this is an issue
        in apt.conf)
Step 4: Start apt-getting stuff.  There is probably an optimal order in
        which to do this.  The version of apt from rpmfind.net does
        understand the RPM database, but the utility of that understanding
        is minimal.  Note that you will also have to manually uninstall
        Red Hat's parts.

At some point during step 4, your system will cease to be a Red Hat system
and become a Debian system.  Larry suggested that this changeover occurs
when you uninstall Red Hat's glibc.  I think that's a pretty reasonable
assumption.  Some others might be the next reboot, the moment you trash
the old package database, when you restart init...

BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT THIS.  I have experience working with systems that
are near death... I manually upgraded a Slaskware system from a.out
binaries to ELF and then from kernel 1.2 to kernel 2.0.  For those of you
who have not been around so long, these transitions were quite prone to
failure and were generally performed using backups, a large magnet, and a
new version of your distro.  Lacking backups, I decided to do them
manually. The only difference between me and a professional is that I
don't get paid to do these crazy system mutation things, I just do them.
So, in other words, I am (for purposes of this discussion) a professional,
your mileage may vary.

If you decide to try this, be extremely careful with your libraries.  You
WILL have multiple versions of some of them installed and you WILL have to
manually delete Red Hat's, so definitely read the documentation for ld.so
and ldconfig until you feel ready to teach it to someone else.  Also, be
absolutely sure that your system will come back up before you try to shut
it down.  This means knowing what's in your inittab, knowing how init
reads it, knowing exactly what your init scripts are doing, knowing that
everything they use still exists, etc.  Pedantry will save you on this
one.  Oh, and good luck...