Over the holidays, I had several days off from work. I figured that this would be the perfect time to do some upgrading on my web server, especially since I hadn't really worked on it since I'd installed Fedora Core 2. Yeah, it's really been that long. They're up to FC8 now, so I had some serious upgrading to do. And you can't really skip versions with the way it's set up. Far more likely to cause problems that way. So I made what backups I could and set to it.
First stumbling block - yum. The new software update method was being a giant pain in my rear. The few sites I could get to that actually had FC3 were slow, balky and didn't want to download in a reasonable time. Of course, this was all after figureing out what yum was and how to configure it. Google is seriously my friend, as are people who bother to post the resolution to problems they're having. I finally figured out how to get stuff downloaded and force yum to use the local hard drive as the location of record for pulling files, and the actual upgrade went quickly.
Next, migrating to FC4. This was basically a mirror of FC3, but with less stumbling around. The process went quickly and the server rebooted back into FC4 with no hesitation at all. I should have stopped here. But no, I wanted to get current. My hardware met the minimum requirements, it should have worked fine. Should is, and always will be, the operative word in sentances like that.
I installed FC5, it went like cake, and then I rebooted. The server wouldn't boot. It wouldn't boot from CD either. And of course, booting from a floppy is now impossible. I was dead in the water.
My husband and I spent 7 days mucking around with the error message and trying to get the computer to boot. I burned about a zillion boot CDs that wouldn't boot, hoping it was a method or media problem (which was part of the problem with the number of CDs I burned, but not with the computer). I burned CDs until I ran out. At that point, I threw up my hands and we went to just buy a dang book with the CDs in it. Oh, and a new hard drive as Plan B. Having a Plan B is always good.
Getting home with the book, we were able to boot into rescue mode. But still no information. And I couldn't install FC8 worth a damn - the partitions were configured so it couldn't go. At that point, I copied off all the data I could find and reformatted the hard drive. I wasn't able to install on the new hard drive and jsut copy over the data because they don't make drives small enough to work with this ancient computer. I honestly never thought I would have a problem with having too much space. Thank goodness I found this out before I opened the drive.
So yeah, finally got the disk to install properly and restored the data. And it turns out that the box can hardly run the OS. It's just too much stuff, and too cool, to work with such an old PC.
All this is to say thank you for those who provided hosting information. I've moved the site to a host (I was able to restore all the data!) and basically decommed the server I was using. The ability to get backups on demand, never worry about power outages and have someone else worry about patching? Priceless. Well, or it's worth more than 2 solid weeks of my time.