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[Discuss] --sandbox switch for Ubuntu's do-release-upgrade/update-manager

Tom I would not trust the sandbox feature for reasons you outlined.

I have managed multiple versions of multiple distros for a dev workstation
using lvm. it is by no means painless. I did learn the grub2 command line.
It is not a painless plan!

*A much better plan is to make a copy onto new hardware or into a virtual
machine and test it there*, but if you go forward... does 12.04 use grub1
and 14.04 use grub2? (I think so!)
You might upgrade that first in 12.04 if it's still using grub1 to make the
process smoother!

If you have LVM2 and plenty of free space, make a new LV, create your file
system then create a file level copy of the old system.(do not use dd**),
then upgrade. When the time comes, just lvremove the one you don't want. This
method works better if you have data compartmentalized nicely in
separate volumes.
and don't already have snapshots.

Any method you use to test the system, you are going to have to do some
config wrangling to go back to the old system, especially if it's temporary
like fiddling with fstab, and using UUID's there.

The other advantage of a two system volume path is that if you decide you
want to clean install you can mount the old system for reference.

Where a snapshot will succeeded where a full copy won't is if you have alot
of data in the same volume as the system and don't have room for another
copy of it.  I think that could save some copy time as well as be more
transparent.  I believe snapshots are copy on write so this could result in
weird performance during testing.
If you forget about the snapshot it will consume some space. You have to
make up your mind at some point and commit it back to the original or drop

**Do not use dd and leave the lv online, only use dd in the case of a
separate vg you can deactivate. and in the case that you have a
 self-contained bootalbe lv setup with grub etc! ( this is far from
anything standard especially for Ubuntu!

On Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 11:50 AM, Tom Metro <tmetro+blu at> wrote:

> I was looking to do a "dry run" test with do-release-upgrade to see if a
> system could successfully be upgraded from 12.04 to 14.04 after some
> changes had been made. (An earlier attempted failed to map packages from
> the old release to the new release.)
> do-release-upgrade doesn't have a dry run option, but does have a
> --sandbox option, which is tersely documented[1] as:
> "Test upgrade with a sandbox aufs overlay"
> OK...but that leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
> Anyone used this feature?
> I searched but couldn't find any more in-depth documentation, or a wiki
> page. All I could turn up were oblique references to --sandbox, such as
> bug reports of it not working[2][3].
> I did find a tangential comment[4] in a stack exchange Q&A asking
> whether it was better to use 'apt-get dist-upgrade' or
> do-release-upgrade, which said, "do-release-upgrade has some other cool
> features, like --sandbox, which remounts your filesystems with aufs so
> that the upgrade can be rolled back!"
> OK, so how do you roll it back?
> Another blog posting[5] says, "Simply just run 'do-release-upgrade -s'
> to sandbox the upgrade. From that point any changes made to your system
> will actually be written to a ramdisk, and reset upon reboot via the
> magic os Aufs. This lets you test your machine thoroughly in a fully
> functioning state, without risking breaking it."
> So how do you "test" an OS upgrade if you can't reboot to the new OS
> version? (Use of RAM disk also seems unlikely.)
> Eventually I ran across a 2009 mailing list posting describing the
> option when it was first introduced:
>   "The idea...was to create a writable overlay into /tmp on top the
>   systemdirs in "/" and then run the release upgrade. This way we can
>   test easily if the system would upgrade cleanly (if no dpkg
>   errors/maintainer script failures happen). All writes go into /tmp so
>   after the upgrade and on the next reboot the system is back to its
>   pre-upgraded state again (modulo /home, that is not overlayed)."
> OK, more details. Now we know the files are stored in /tmp. But I'm
> still not following why you wouldn't want to preserve this across a
> reboot, and have an explicit command to roll back the upgrade.
> It seems like they only care about testing the package conflict
> resolution and the package installation scripts. (Half of that you can
> test without even writing to the file system.) What I care about is how
> badly will my alternate desktop manager be broken after an upgrade.
> Digging into the Python code that implements do-release-upgrade
> uncovered the 'mount' command line they use to create the AuFS[6] file
> system (a derivative of UnionFS), that there are options specified via
> config file to specify the location of the overlay file system (so you
> could put it outside of /tmp; it defaults to /tmp/upgrade-rw), and code
> to rsync the overlay filesystem back to the real file system (but
> unclear what calls that code).
> Using this feature with update-manager potentially addresses an idea I
> brought up here previously: an apt-get that can revert an upgrade. (If
> only it was a console program instead of a GUI. And it would still need
> to be tweaked to persist across reboot.)
> I'm wondering why this isn't better documented and promoted. I'm left
> with the impression that the feature may be half-baked. Particularly due
> to things like the bug report[2] suggesting that any upgrade that causes
> grub to update the bootloader will fail, as the overlay FS gets in the
> way. Then again if it all evaporates when you reboot, you've already
> learned what you're going to learn by the time the grub update stage of
> the upgrade runs.
>  -Tom
> 1.
> 2.
> 3.
> 4.
> 5.
> 6.
> --
> Tom Metro
> The Perl Shop, Newton, MA, USA
> "Predictable On-demand Perl Consulting."
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at

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