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Upgrading Linux Remotely

Posted on 2006-07-03
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Last Modified: 2013-11-13
Hi,

I have a Linux box with remote telnet access. My OS is RH 7.3. I wouuld like to upgrade to RH 9 or Fedora without loosing my current settings. Is there a way to do this remotely via telnet ? How ? I do not have physical access to the machine.

Thank you,
Antonio
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Question by:agubaira
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pjedmond earned 500 total points
ID: 17031055
First - get rid of telnet!!!!!! Replace with sshd - Telnet is not secure!

Not having access to your system poses a major risk in the event of something going wrong and you cannot reboot!.

Anyway - This is possible to do:)...but not via the standard approach that you would normally use, and it is not particularly easy!...and there is still a very high risk that this may go wrong! I *STRONGLY* recommend that you try and confirm this process at work on a spare PC before attemptin it remotely. Document as you go!

1. You need to be able to guarantee that you can still connect to your system after reboot! Useful tricks here are to use a 'statically linked' software package:

http://matt.ucc.asn.au/dropbear/dropbear.html

would be ideal for this. Configure it to boot automatically!

2.    Check whether you are using 'lilo' or 'grub' as your boot loader. You need to understand the process that this goes through in details so that you can correctly insert your new kernel when you wish to replace the old one. For grub you merely add another title section above the existing on, and it'll boot the top one first:

title My Enterprise Linux (2.4.21-15.EL)
        root (hd0,0)
        kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.21-15.EL ro root=LABEL=/
        initrd /initrd-2.4.21-15.EL.img

The kernels and the initrds are normally available on the distro CDs, so you can just upload them to the correct location. Note that you must have the correct modules installed for the new kernel, or this won't work. I thoroughly recommen dthat you build yourself a new kernel from scratch in order to ensure that you understand all the elements that tie in here:

http://www.digitalhermit.com/linux/Kernel-Build-HOWTO.html

Once you've got this far, the easiest approach is to stick all of the rpm files from the FC install CD into a single folder, and rpm -Uvh *. Everything will get upgraded, but it will take some time! Unfortunately there will be files left 'lying around' from the old installation...and of course your home directory wont be affected by this process.

Obviously make a backup of everything you need before doing this!

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by:pjedmond
ID: 17031072
Some additional useful links:

Lilo:

http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/LILO.html

Grub:

http://www.gnu.org/software/grub/

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