Upgrading woes

Yesterday I upgraded my work desktop to openSUSE 11.2 from 11.0. I'd skipped 11.1 because upgrading (rather than reformat/reinstall) is always a lot of work. This proved to be no exception. Even though I was involved with the milestone builds for openSUSE, I didn't have the ability to test my guaranteed-to-have-problems desktop.

I had two problems:
  1. The XWindows hot-plug support for input devices just plain doesn't work on my system. This was introduced in 11.1, so that would have bit me then.
  2. VMWare Workstation just wouldn't compile the modules. The 11.2 kernel is too new.
I've managed to solve both problems. The first was solved by putting my old (backups are your friend!!) xorg.conf file into play and adding one line in the ServerFlags section to tell it to not bother auto-adding input devices. The second involved installing 6.5.3 instead of 6.5.2, and using a bit of crowbar-fu to make it fit. 6.5.2 just wouldn't work, where 6.5.3 required some special handling.

I don't know why the 'evdev' stuff in xorg is failing on me. It's on my list to figure out, but as I have a working config at the moment that's kind of low priority. But that needs fixing, since 11.3 will most assuredly reintroduce that fault.

VMWare.... reportedly version 7 works without a hitch. But I can't have that yet, so I had to get 6.5 in somehow. The crowbar I mentioned was killing certain processes the vmware installer spawns to compile the kernel modules it requires. Once those were ruthelessly murdered, the installer completed and it would work. Clearly, I have to be leery of kernel updates until I can use 7.

Other than some theme tweaks that I needed to redo, this was the cleanest upgrade I've had. All the Gnome stuff worked right out of the gate, which is a first. In the past I've had to blow away most of my Gnome configs and restart from scratch. I'm glad those bugs have been ironed out.