What to do when your Linux upgrade goes wrong

23 January 2019 • Tags: linux — backup

Strange how rarely I write about Linux, the OS that I’m using since 1998 (with some gap filled with OSX). I love it to bits because it’s is super reliable both on the desktop and server. I even have one machine with SteamOS installed. But of course there are exceptions like 20 years ago when I was using Debian testing and libpam had a bad update. Took me a week to get back into my system. The olden days without backup-systems…

This week’s outtake was much shorter and completely my fault, but my backup-strategy was a second PC. Not the perfect solution if the situations change and I have no access to another machine or the internet.

First of all, what did I do wrong? Well, I downgraded readline, don’t ask, I just had to. Bash didn’t like that and insisted on readline 8. A fact I realized only after booting the system when I came home from work.

So, what took you so long? Well, not being able to get into my system to reinstall the newer readline version that was still in pacman’s cache. My disks aren’t ecrypted (files are, there’s even a mountable encrypted disk image) so recovery was easy enough.

What will I change in the near future? First off all, a newer, bigger disk is on my shopping-list. I’l configure it to feature an additional, minimalistic boot drive that I can use to access my other partitions when needed. Another fallback will be changing the external hard-drives that I have around the house, I’ll add boot drives to those as well. You might wonder why that, but the reason is quite simple: I don’t want to rely on an USB stick for a boot drive because I probably will overwrite it after a while.