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#1 BetaWar  Icon User is offline

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Arch and I, and the recent round of bricking

Post icon  Posted 15 July 2012 - 09:09 PM

As many of you fellow Archers out there probably know (if you update on a regular interval at least) the latest round of updates involving glibc and Arch Linux lead to a lot of people bricking their machines. I, sadly, was among them.

Here is the tale of descending into chaos and coming back again (admittedly a little leaner).

For anyone who has yet to attempt this round of updates, or for anyone who is in the process of attempting it, I am also providing what I would suggest doing along the way.

After successfully bricking my machine to the point I was unable to do a simple "ls" I downloaded a Arch dual architecture ISO recovery disk with net install and went to shut down my machine. As it turns out my bricking went pretty far through the process, and after waiting for the machine to shut down for 5 minutes I simply gave up and cut the power. Booted up the machine using the ISO image and went on my merry way.

I would, first and foremost suggest copying anything of importance off your hard drive. This can be done by mounting the hard drive on the ISO filesystem:
cd / Go to the root directory
mkdir hdd Make a hdd folder that the harddrive will be mounted on (you could use /mnt if you prefer)
mount /dev/sda3 /hdd Mount the harddrive (NOTE - This may be different for your computer, but my harddrive was sda3

Here I would suggest copying all the config files you want, such as your netcfg profiles, your rc.conf, etc. on to a flash drive. You can mount it in the same way as above. NOTE - We aren't planning on having to do a reinstall, but things could always get worse, best to be safe. I would also suggest copying anything important from your home directory if you can, on my machine this was sda4. And finally, I would suggest gathering a list of all the installed packages you have on your system -- so you can quickly install them again if need be. This is done like so:
pacman -Qer /hdd > installed.txt

Here the -r /hdd option specifies to use the mounted file system instead of the root file system and -Qe says to query for a list of explicitly installed packages (ones that weren't simply installed because they were a dependency).

From here there are a number of things you can do, many of which are stated on archlinux.org so I won't worry about repeating them here.

The short of it is -- I didn't get my configuration files off before giving up on recovering and proceeding on to a system wipe. That made things fun getting set back up, but I was able to get all my installed packages and all my documents off the machine before killing it. At this point I believe to be back up and running with possibly the exception of dropbox, which seems to be a little emo at the moment.

If you have yet to attempt the update I would highly suggest doing the following command first:
pacman -U pkgbuild.com/~allan/glibc-2.16.0-1-<arch>.pkg.tar.xz
Where <arch> is your system architecture -- i686 or x86-64, also you will HAVE to add the http and :// to the beginning of the URL above, the forums are just trying to be too helpful at the moment so I removed that portion. I found that it was necessary even after doing a system wipe and starting over to run this command before I could successfully update. So starting off with it should make the process slightly smoother.

What have your experiences with this round of updates (July 14th, 2012) been like? Did anyone else on DIC brick their computer? Or am I the only one?

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Replies To: Arch and I, and the recent round of bricking

#2 Anarion  Icon User is offline

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Re: Arch and I, and the recent round of bricking

Posted 17 July 2012 - 09:41 AM

After a couple of years using Debian, I have done the bricking quite often! And to be honest, I had to reinstall the whole OS twice for avoiding headaches <_<
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#3 yothsoggoth  Icon User is offline

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Re: Arch and I, and the recent round of bricking

Posted 17 July 2012 - 11:42 AM

A hell of a lot of people seem to have had trouble with this update!

Thankfully I haven't got around to doing it yet myself, waiting until tonight when I'm on a decent internet connection. Fingers crossed everything will go okay, but I'll be sure to take your backup tips into account!
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#4 CarDriver  Icon User is offline

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Re: Arch and I, and the recent round of bricking

Posted 17 July 2012 - 07:38 PM

I put Arch on a DVD for the first time a couple weeks ago, and it was so screwed up. It seems like a great OS when it's working, but they should really make sure they only let users download a distro when it has a working package manager. After attempting to install anything, pacman just decided that it couldn't finish. Updating pacman was impossible, too. I'll try Arch when they get things sorted out.
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#5 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Arch and I, and the recent round of bricking

Posted 19 July 2012 - 10:42 PM

With Linux I have a rule of NEVER upgrading first thing. The only OS I will upgrade on release is OpenBSD, anything else I really don't trust enough.

I waited for Ubuntu to have an upgrade out for two weeks, and sure enough that bricked nVidia something awful.

I suppose you can say I'm paranoid, but I will not ever upgrade anything other than a pressing security concern unless it's had 1-2 weeks to wear a few of the major bugs out.

That being said, I've learned from experience to avoid shotgun upgrades without ample backups.
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#6 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Arch and I, and the recent round of bricking

Posted 22 July 2012 - 06:45 PM

I really like Arch, but I'll be damned if they don't fuck up all the repositories on releases. Incompatibilities that require way too much forum browsing to diagnose.
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#7 grimpirate  Icon User is offline

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Re: Arch and I, and the recent round of bricking

Posted 23 July 2012 - 09:43 PM

@AVReidy: pacman is just as good as any rpm or deb package manager.

I've been using Arch successfully for quite some time now. The only negative experience I had was where one update somehow did away with my .xinitrc file and I couldn't recall how I had structured it. Other than that, if you keep the system up to date (daily for me) and check the archlinux.org page for critical procedures to follow during updates, you shouldn't have any problems. Remember the Archer attitude of PEBCAK. I also maintain my system by KISS principle using slimmer packages with minimal configuration/dependencies.

glibc did pester a lot of people but it wasn't anything you couldn't work around doing a net install (if you needed to start from scratch). Ways to address the fix were provided by the Arch team (which I followed and yielded fruitful results). You also have to check your pacman mirrorlist to make sure you're using a fast and reliable mirror. I tend to use university repos.

glibc is the least of your worries now. Arch just announced they would no longer be providing core images. So now people will have to figure out how to do offline installs (as future images are dual architecture net install). AIF has been dropped due to lack of support, so now it's Arch installation scripts. Needless to say, lots of reading and lots of tweaking and lots of potential to screw things up now on a fresh install. This will no doubt turn even more people off to Arch, not to mention the more novice users.

Despite all that, I've learned more from using Arch than I have any other distro, and I've also been able to tweak it to remove all the useless bloat that other distros include (this is important as I make use of an older laptop with less than stellar capabilities). It enabled me to figure out how to address the monitor off problem other Linux distros had given me, and to enable use of a D-Link PCMCIA card for wireless capability. It's been a lot of frustration/research/time but work is the cost of a tailored system. There is always the second option of using distros based on Arch that have a more "stable" release cycle (Archbang, Chakra, etc.) to avoid some of those potential headaches (i.e. let someone else bang their head).

I realize I sound like an Arch fanboy, but honestly I don't see Arch as a "distro" in the sense of what the word has become. I see it as a tool to let you roll your own Linux, albeit a fairly complicated one.
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#8 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Arch and I, and the recent round of bricking

Posted 03 September 2012 - 09:20 PM

Got hit by the glibc shit today. That's what I get for not upgrading in months.

And apparently just not paying attention in general.
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