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How to ease re-install "upgrades"? (was: Re: How stable is fedora?)

At 03:24 PM 5/17/04 -0400, Jeremy Brown wrote:
>Mike Bartman wrote:
>>I've gotten it, installed it, and am looking it over, but if support for
>>keeping it secure is going to go away, and require an upgrade to a new
>>version every few months, it's not going to cut it either.
>There's always fedoralegacy.org, which provides updates for 1.5 years (3 
>version cycles).

Thank you.  I saw some info about that later on, and went and checked the
site.  It looks good.  Upgrading every year or 2 shouldn't be a major
problem.  I won't miss new features much...I don't need a lot of capability
on my server system...but security patches are important.

Speaking of which, what tricks do people have for easing an "upgrade"
that's done by installing a fresh copy of a newer system?  Upgrade installs
often only work for adjacent, or almost adjacent, versions.  If you skip a
few, you usually need a fresh install, and trying to collect all the
setups, config files, and other customizations can be a real PITA if you
aren't anal about how you keep records and save copies of everything you
modify over time.  You usually have to do a lot of manual work to use the
old setup info with the latest versions, but making sure you didn't miss
anything before you wipe the old setup is nice.  Having to dig it out of
backups takes time.

I've got /home on a separate partition that I don't need to mess with when
re-installing (it's worked for a couple of RHL upgrades so far anyway), so
the stuff that needs carrying over is mostly system setups (DNS configs,
sendmail setup, user account info, etc.).  It can be saved in the /home
tree for reference in setting up the new system once it's up and running,
but how to get all the required stuff, without any critical omissions, is a
potential problem.  

Anything that will run over a given install, compare RPMs with the actual
installed stuff and tell you what it looks like has been changed, without
complaining about every executable that might have been upgraded by a patch
or whatever, and which won't miss config files that weren't included in the
RPM?  Some other trick?

-- Mike Bartman
The Boulder Pledge: "Under no circumstances will I ever purchase anything
offered to me as the result of an unsolicited email message. Nor will I
forward chain letters, petitions, mass mailings, or virus warnings
to large numbers of others. This is my contribution to the survival of the
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