Headless upgrade from Linux to FreeBSD

Tony Shadwick tshadwick at goinet.com
Thu Jun 16 16:10:11 GMT 2005

There are "ways" to do this, but none of them are really good ideas.  If 
this machine has any uptime requirements at all, I wouldn't do it.

If you *must*, and you have a decent bootloader on the disk you're booting 
from now (grub?), and you have a second available disk, then you could 
create a bootable system on another box that is not headless and is local 
to you, install all of the software that you want, then dd that system to 
a single file, gzip it to make it as small as possible, transfer it to 
your redhat system, unzip the file, dd the image file back to the second 
drive, add the new system drive to grub's config file, reboot and pray.

I really don't think it's a good idea though....bad bad bad bad bad.

If you're going to do it, might I suggest that ahead of time you recompile 
your fedora kernel to support at least UFS2 read, if there isn't safe UFS2 
write available now?  That way after you finish dd'ing the image to the 
second drive, you can view the filesystem and check for any mistakes you 
might have made, or make any adjustments that you think of at the last 
moment before you do that last reboot?


On Thu, 16 Jun 2005, Andrew P. wrote:

> Hello,
> I've been using FreeBSD for a while - and I prefer it to all other
> server OS'es, but incidentally I have Fedora Core 3 installed on one
> of the servers I manage. I consulted all interested parties and they
> have nothing against migrating it to FreeBSD. I've got physical access
> to the box, but I'd would like it very much to make a headless
> upgrade.
> It's a single-Opteron box with around 130Gb on a 200Gb SATA hard
> drive, the internet bandwidth is about 20Mbit/s. In fact, I've already
> tried to run FreeBSD-5.3 on this very box - without any problem. There
> is no DHCP/DNS on the network it's connected to, so static
> preconfigured IP-address is a must, as well as a pre-configured BIND
> (or at least resolv.conf with one of my external DNS-servers).
> I'm thinking about creating a large hard-drive image (with FreeBSD)
> and somehow writing it on the hard-drive with an in-memory dd-like
> tool. Can anybody suggest a better way? Maybe I could even save some
> data without backing it all up on another server?
> Thanks,
> Andrew P.
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