Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Haiku updating -- just a little strangeness

I posted on this topic more than two years ago where I discussed the option to upgrade the installed version of Haiku without writing over all your settings and configurations, much as a Linux install without reformatting the /home directory.

This involves downloading the new version of Haiku (for example, from here), dd'ing the expanded image to a USB key.
Next just boot to the USB key, and copy the /boot/system folder on the key to the installed version.

A recent post to Haiku Forums elaborated this method and added some useful shortcuts.
As the post is written somewhat confusingly, I'll just sumarize what's required here:

1. Boot to your present version of Haiku and download the more version as .xz (although it could be .zip if you want).

2. Expand by
tar -xvf new_version_of_haiku.xz

3. Copy the resulting image to your USB key (which doesn't need to be mounted) by
dd if=haiku.image of=/dev/disk/usb/0/0/raw bs=1M
(of course, your USB key may be have a different designation

4. Now, instead of rebooting to the USB key, just mount the key (right-click on Desktop, Mount and pick your key).

5. Click in Tracker on your installed Haiku and rename the /boot/system folder to something like /boot/system.old
Note that attempts to rename (or, in fact, to do anything to /boot/system) will launch a complaint and a request to hold down the shift key to carry out the desired operation.
This holds the working copy of /boot/system available should the upgrade fail for whatever reason.

6. Next open the mounted USB key and drag the /boot/system folder to the /boot folder of your installed Haiku. Copying will proceed.

7. Reboot to enjoy your upgraded Haiku.

Now, I tried this very technique myself today on the Haiku Nightly hrev 44067 I have installed on my Dell E520.
I tried hrev44128 and everything worked fine other than the fact that freeSpace, although it launched fine, gave a blank space in its window.
I keep freeSpace in my LaunchBox and even launch it at boot by including it in my ~/config/boot/UserBootscript.
So this was an unpleasant surprise.
Intrigued, I did the very same thing with hrev440127 and hrev44069 and in each case, freeSpace launched with a blank window.
Well, what happens if I download another copy of the version of Haiku I already have installed (hrev44067)?
Well, I tried this and, what dya know, freeSpace worked perfectly.
Now this is weird. Does this mean that every version of Haiku Nightly after hrev44067 contains some change that prevents freeSpace from working properly.
Very strange.
And yes, I know I can issue the "df" command ina  terminal to get exactly what freeSpace provides but I'd like to understand what changed.

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