Upgrading Red Hat (Alpha & Intel) w/o rebooting (fwd)

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Thu Jul 6 11:03:14 PDT 2000

I'll just forward this back to the list, since it looks like his post
didn't actually get through (hard to say why not, though).

For all who have been following this thread, this is "the best" way to
upgrade a running RH-based host.  It needs no floppy drive and can be
fully automated (so you can e.g. upgrade via a cron script or from your
desk without even physically visiting the host in question).

Seth is our local systems guy, and a modest linux genius.  He pretty
much runs DULUG, the Duke Linux User's groups (www.dulug.duke.edu --
feel free to join if you are in the area).

Well, maybe that THAT modest...;-)


Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 16:28:57 -0400 (EDT)
From: Seth Vidal <skvidal at phy.duke.edu>
To: Robert G. Brown <rgb at phy.duke.edu>
Cc: beowulf at beowulf.org
Subject: Re: Upgrading Red Hat (Alpha & Intel) w/o rebooting (fwd)

> Has anybody a) found a way or b) tried to get a running Red Hat system to
> upgrade versions (ie 6.1->6.2) without rebooting or using an install
> floppy? Our cluster has a bunch of rackmounted Alphas, some with nonfunctioning
> floppy drives, and we really don't want to have to take them all out.  I
> know Debian and FreeBSD have ways of doing this, but what about Red Hat?

You'll have to reboot but you won't have to have a floppy disk.

Go grab the bootnet floppy image and mount it over the loopback device

extract the vmlinuz and initrd.img from there and place them somewhere
accessible to your machine.

modify the following script to suit your dirs:

cp /net/xtmp/ks/initrd.img /boot/initrd-install.img
cp /net/xtmp/ks/vmlinuz /boot/vmlinuz-install

cat << EOF >> /etc/lilo.conf


/sbin/lilo -R reinstall

This will grab the images and put them in /boot

then it will add a lilo stanza that will be set to the next default on
boot. Then just reboot the system - it will boot and initrd will be the
normal redhat install/kickstart installer.

if you're kickstart settings are good then you'll be on your way on a

the append="ks" is fairly important b/c of what it does.

if you're using aboot on the alphas and you want to boot you'll have to
find someway of setting up an initrd for that kernel - I'm not sure on
that part.

This idea and script were given to me by Jeremy Katz  - its a good idea
and I've used it MANY times to re-install.

good luck


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