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Treating .old Linux kernels

From: Pavel Roskin
Subject: Treating .old Linux kernels
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2007 02:59:59 -0500
User-agent: Internet Messaging Program (IMP) H3 (4.1.4)


I have adjusted grub-update to pick up initrd on Fedora. Fedora uses different filenames. The version goes before ".img", not after, e.g. initrd-2.6.24-rc3.img

I'd like to get an opinion on treating old kernels. If the kernel is installed and there is already a kernel with the same version, the original kernel is renamed by adding ".old" to the filename. The old initrd is not preserved.

Currently, grub-update (more specifically, util/grub.d/ treats ".old" as part of the kernel version, so it fails to find the correspondent initrd. Therefore, an entry is created without initrd. In case of Fedora, it won't boot unless the device files are present on the root filesystem under /dev (they need to be copied).

I think ".old" kernels don't need to be in the menu. The existing entry can be edited to use the old kernel if the new kernel fails to boot. It's not a normal situation, it's an emergence, and it's where GTUB shines. Another approach would be to use the new initrd if the old initrd is not found. Leaving things as is would be misleading, because the old kernel would fail to boot on many systems, leaving a wrong impression of safety.

Thus, I see such options:

1) Don't add old kernels to the menu

2) Keep adding old kernels to the menu, but try harder to find the suitable initrd for them.

Pavel Roskin

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