mkinitrd & up2date

Ok Linux Gurus - I have a Dell Poweredge 2500sc with a perc/3di raid 5 setup, and Red Hat 7.1 installed, 1ghz pentium III.  For some reason, up2date was never installed on the unit, and I am trying to install it using the latest version rpms which are:

When I try to install using rpm -i for the first one, Im getting this error:
failed dependencies:
mkinitrd >= 3.2.2 is needed by up2date-2.8.40-1.7.1

I downloaded the latest mkinitrd rpm (3.2.6-1) and tried installing it, it tells me there is a conflict with the previous version (3.0.10-1).  How to proceed?  I read the man page for mkinitrd and since it has something to do with the ram disk, scsi, and raid controllers - I dont want to mess with it for fear of not being able to boot up or busting my raid setup.  Should I uninstall it using package manager and install the new one, will this trash anything or make my system unbootable?
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Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
You should not install mkinitrd.rpm, you need to update it:

rpm -U mkinitrd.rpm

If this does not work, what error messages are you getting (please be as specific as possible)

mkinitrd is a program that creates an "initial ram disk", which is a "ramdisk in a file" that can be mounted by a booting Linux system. You usually put kernel modules for your hardware into the initrd.

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What you'll want to do is to use:

rpm -U mkinitrd-3.2.6-1.i386.rpm up2date-2.8.40-1.7.1.i386.rpm up2date-gnome-2.8.40-1.7.1.i386.rpm

I'm not sure if there are any other dependencies.

To some degree this will become a moot point on December 31 as that's the date that all support for anything earler than RedHat 9 will be dropped. Updates for 9 will be available until April when support for it will be discontinued.  You probably need to consider moving to RedHat Enterprise Linux if you need a supported Linux or switching to Fedora or some other Linux if you aren't willing to pay for an RHN subscription.
Sometimes can these depenencies become a neverending story. Are you sure mkinitrd will not need another rpm an so on and on? On a system that hasn't been upgraded for a long time it is best to let up2date do the job, because it always manages all dependencies. If up2date is not working you just need new certificate for secure communication. You can get it here: Then run "/usr/sbin/up2date -u" or "/usr/sbin/up2date up2date up2date-gnome" to upgrade only those two packages. All dependent packages will get installed too. Of course you have to register to RedHat Network if you havent yet with /usr/sbin/rhn_register.
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Col_BeckwithAuthor Commented:
marko, none of these things except mkinitrd were installed.  up2date and up2date-gnome, as well as rhn_register and its gnome variant were never installed.  So the first thing I did was install rhn_register, which had a bunch of dependecy problems which I overcame by install the packages it was looking for.  Then I tried to install the most recent up2date so I could grab whatever updated packages I could before Redhat stopped supporint errata for 7.1.  When I tried to install this up2date version, I got a dependency error on mkinitrd because its version was out of date.  So here I am, from what I am reading here, updating this package (mkinitrd) as per jlevie and khkremer
will not effect bootup - is this correct?
Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
mkinitrd is the tool to create the initrd file. Installing this package will not modify the initrd that's used by your boot configuration. So yes, it will not mess with your boot configuration.
> so I could grab whatever updated packages I could before Redhat stopped supporint errata for 7.1.
Apart from up2date helping you a bit with dependencies, and not downloading things you don't have installed, you really don't need up2date... ftp to the nearest mirror and get the lot, or just "wget" it all (that way it'll be easy to get any changes, and just the changes). Then do a rpm -Fvh * in the downloaded update directory (be sure to just get the relevant updates... might be a bit .. huge.... otherwise:-). This of course assumes you have the diskspace for it all:-).

Since RH is desupporting everything but 9 now, perhaps you should think about your upgrade options... If non-critical, perhaps Fedora will do (I went Mandrake:-).

-- Glenn
Col_BeckwithAuthor Commented:
Being a linux newbie, I got thrown on this Dell Poweredge server, upgrading the os scares me since I have little experience with RAID configurations on linux, especially this box.  I assume that all necessary software for the scsi drives, backplane, and raid config would be available in other distributions?
Sounds to me like you've got saddled with some form of production machine(?), in which case you might be better off looking at RH Enterprise Linux of one version or another, or some other distribution with some possibility of more solid support (as I said, I use Mandrake:-).

It's been quite some time since last I laid hands on a Dell server, so I will not be able to guarantee anything... But RedHat 7.1 is quite old, and things that it "needed help" supporting would probably be better supported in more recent offerings. Buying some form of support/installation help, and (of course) making sure you have good backups before risking a "distribution switch" would likely be the prudent path.
One might go look on the intended distributors HAL (usually somewhere on their website:-):-).

"Upgrading" like this can be very easy, or very very difficult, all depending on what the system is used for (what subsystems/packages... and tehir respective configuration)... Otoh, this is actually often true when applying security updates too (although the likelihood of problems are far less).

-- Glenn
Col_BeckwithAuthor Commented:
I appreciate the input - from all of you.  Many thanks.  I probably will at some point switch the Enterprise so as not to leave myself without a safety net......

One other thing, up2date wants to upgrade my Kernel to version 2.4.20 - any harm in doing this?
Um, depends on whether you've built any custom kernel/3rc party kernel modules. This would definitely muck with your initrd etc.
Perhaps best to make a partimage/ghost image of the server, if you're not sure... Just running partimage from a live-cd might be challangeing:-). You could use something like knoppix ( or the system rescue boot cd from ...
Be sure to put the images somewhere you can easily get at them:-).

-- Glenn
Col_BeckwithAuthor Commented:
Yeah, all of that sounds a bit out of my league, Ill have to try it on a dummy system before I would attempt that on a live server.  Not comfortable with it.  I was thinking more in terms of how a kernel upgrade would effect the boot process and my raid configuration. GNS, Ill look into your suggestions further, thanks.
> I was thinking more in terms of how a kernel upgrade would effect the boot process and my raid configuration.
It could be just dandy, but there are slight risks... missing/malfunctioning driver(s), changes in the software raid system (if that is what you use... The perc/3di is HW, so this is not an issue for you... and it seems to be handled by the aacraid module which is part of the kernel you endevour to upgrade to. Promising!).
You would probably be fine.
It will retain the old kernel as a bootable option, so the risk is really very little. You'd need reboot for it to take effect (of course).
After running the upgrade check your bootloaders config, that there is a choice for the "old" kernel, if you want to make sure.
The kernel includes some security fixes, so you probably should upgrade... while still pondering a long-term strategy for the system;-).

Take care, and Good Luck.

-- Glenn
Col_BeckwithAuthor Commented:
Good advice.  Thanks.
I'm running RedHat Enterprise Linux 3.0 on Dell 2300's, which I think has the same RAID controller as the 2500 (Dell PERCRAID RAID5). No special attention was needed to get the RAID to work as the 2.4 kernel has the necessary drivers.  The only glitch I've encountered with a 2300 was that its USB controller insists on conflicting with every NIC I put in the box, so I just added "nousb" to the kernel boot options to disable USB.
Col_BeckwithAuthor Commented:
The controller in the 2500 SC is the perc3di.  That the one in yours?
I'm not sure. A sure-fire way of telling if the controller is directly supported by RedHat 9 or Enterprise 3.0 is to see if the install CD recognizes the controller by booting into rescue mode.
Col_BeckwithAuthor Commented:
Ill give it a shot, kudos the linux community - Im an MCSE.  What they say is true about you guys, yer damn helpful.  Thanks a mil.
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