03 December, 2006


Upgrade Testing with QEMU

I have been really busy until two weeks ago [Shameless plug: If you need a (technical) project manager and/or hands-on Basis person to get your SAP R/3 system upgraded to ECC6, get in touch.]. Which means I've been a bit slack - so slack in fact that Andreas Barth had to resolve an RC bug in one of my packages - mea culpa.

Ridden by guilt I decided to finally do what I've been wanting to for some time: Putting the steps together to do a Debian test upgrade using QEMU. I chose QEMU because it is free and readily comes with Debian. It is slower than VMware, at least without the non-free kernel module, but still usable on somewhat reasonable hardware. The actual upgrade steps given below are independent of the virtualisation technology used, so they will apply to VMware as well.

Without further ado, here goes:
All in all, things seem to work ok. However, this is far from hitting the friendly green upgrade button and it just happens. So, I thought I try the next best thing to the friendly green upgrade button which is synaptic. Doing an upgrade with synaptic does actually work quite smoothly. It needs to be restarted a few times, leaves some cruft in terms of obsolete and orphan packages and the reboot doesn't really work from within Gnome, but other than that it is ok. Most notably, it didn't leave me with an unusable system in the middle of it all.

Robert Collins made some interesting remarks about the challenges of upgrades last week when we had dinner with Martin Krafft and a number of other great people. It looks like the Ubuntu folks are working on improving update-manager but also the underlying infrastructure to smooth out the upgrade process. Maybe there could be an opportunity to work together on this and achieve a situation where upgrades become as smooth as installs are now due to the fantastic work of the d-i people.

This is a great article! Thanks a lot. I`m a QEMU user, too, but i couldn`t istall the latest version of QEMU with kqemu on Sarge.
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