Issue #7 May 2005

Ask Shadowman

It's already May; soon it will be summer, and Shadowman's dance card is filling up fast. First, in June, he'll be striding up and down the Rue Royal in the steamy New Orleans evenings at the Red Hat Summit. Then he'll be flirting with the frauleins at LinuxTag. After that, a trip to Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Linux Symposium. All in a hat and cape that add about ten pounds of sweat and twenty degrees of heat—but that's how Shadowman rolls. Sweaty and smooth, feeling the heat.

Got a question that you'd like Shadowman to answer? Ask him.

czubin asked:

I'm running Fedora Core 3 and I was wondering how the transition from FC3 to FC4 would be. I mean, would a simple insert of FC4 CDs and all system libraries be upgraded or I'll have to clean sweep my harddrive first?

To which Shadowman replies:

Just do it. Put in the CDs, and let the installer do its magic. Upgrades from one version of Fedora Core to another work pretty well.

Note that caveat: "pretty well." Not "supportable" well. Not "production quality" well. Not "guaranteed to be painless or your money back" well.

More like, "be sure to back up your data, and if the upgrade breaks you get to keep both pieces" well. Oh, and also, "the upgrade to GCC 4 will break any apps you may have compiled for yourself against GCC 3.x" well.

Which, depending, may not actually be very well at all. But if you ran FC3 mostly in its initially installed configuration, and if you only used RPMs that shipped with FC3, then Shadowman will stick with his initial assessment: it should work pretty well.

Vishal asks:

When we login as su, the error is "Login incorrect" but my password is correct.

To which Shadowman replies:

Sounds to Shadowman like you've been fed some bad advice, Vishal. Someone has clearly told you to "login as su" without explaining what that really means. My guess is that you are, quite naturally, trying to type in "login su," which is of course failing spectacularly, since there is no actual user named "su".

People can be terribly imprecise when they try to help.

What you're actually trying to do is to become the superuser, essentially root. So the actual command to run is just "su", not "login su" or "login as su" or "login as the superduper user" or whatever it is that you might have tried in your desparation. And when you type in "su" and hit enter, you'll be asked for the root password—which, presumably, you know.

Shadowman wishes you the best of luck, Vishal, and recommends that you buy some basic Linux books if you can.

(And if it happens that you've really just lost your root password, then accept this fact, boot into single-user mode, change your root password, and move on with your life.)

Josh asks:

We use IBM RS/6000 F50 for our customers and are trying to find out if there would be a significant advantage of migration to Red Hat off of AIX?

To which Shadowman replies:

What the...? It's an enterprise customer, asking Shadowman's advice!

Josh, Shadowman is flattered. Really. Touched in a way that you can't ever fully know. But dude, Shadowman is just a guy in a funny hat who basically makes fun of stuff for a living. Josh, buddy, sweetie... you need real advice.

So try this: go download the Unix to Linux Migration Whitepaper. And then go look at any of the other whitepapers that tickle your fancy.

After that, contact a Red Hat sales guru and ask all of your detailed questions. If your sales guru can't answer, he'll call a tech guru who will be able to answer.