Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Edgy to Feisty Horror

As mentioned previously, I upgraded my work machine to Feisty Fawn without much trouble, but waited on doing my home machine because I knew it would be a bit trickier. The reason is I run a family website from that machine. It's basically a blog built with Django and it uses a PostgreSQL database backend. It also has a photo gallery with tons of family photos. I would hate to lose either of those.

I had a bunch of free time last night, and I had backed up important stuff to some DVDs recently, so I decided to go for it. I clicked upgrade in the Update Manager and off it went. About then a good friend of mine called. We hadn't talked for a long time, and we had a lot to catch up on. Perfect. I let the install run while we chatted. It was taking a while to progress, but I didn't think too much of it. After we hung up and said goodbye, I started reading a book. It was finally to the configuration and setup part and occasionally asked me some questions. I was enjoying the book, and didn't notice for a while how long this was taking. It was taking a long time. I noticed finally that the time on the computer screen had stuck at 11:58 PM, but it was really about 1 AM. I panicked a bit and looked hard. Something called mdadm was taking forever to do something. I typed top and saw an acroread process hogging all the CPU. "Curse you, Adobe!" I thought to myself. I killed the process and all of a sudden the upgrade started flying. It finished in just a few more minutes. Wow, I wish I had caught that sooner.

Being late and night, and just wanting to get through it, I didn't pay too much attention to what packages it said it was uninstalling because they were obsolete. I already knew it would uninstall mod_python for some strange reason. After the install finished I aptituded that, but my django website still wouldn't run. The database was missing! PostgreSQL had been uninstalled, and my database completely wiped out, as far as I could tell. PHP was also uninstalled. I've upgraded this box from Breezy to Dapper, and from Dapper to Edgy without any problem, I don't know why it decided to nuke those packages, and my data with it this time. That is just so wrong, Ubuntu, and I hope you are reading this!

No big deal though, I figured. This is a home machine, nothing new had been added to the database today and it was automatically dumped to a file by a cron job last night. I'll just import that dump file found here:


$ ll all.dbs.out
-rw-r--r-- 1 bryan bryan          0 2007-05-09 01:14 all.dbs.out

In case you didn't catch that, the "0" right before the "2007-05-09" means the file is empty. Yes, my backup failed, because it happened automatically during the update.

I can't recall too many times in my life when I've felt the blood drain from my face, but this was one of them. Seems like they have all been related to stupid things that computers have tricked me into doing, like just now. I suppose that in the grand scheme of things, that says a lot about how blessed I am. To only have cause for that kind of panic from minor things like lost data is really pretty good. Now, the morning after, I can think of much worse things to have to be afraid of. But I wasn't thinking about the grand scheme of things right at that moment last night.

Actually, I must not have been completely oblivious to said scheme, because I didn't panic for too long. I have a backup on a DVD that isn't too out of date. Maybe the missing blog entries from that could be found in the Google cache or something. A quick search showed that, in fact, they could be found. Thank you, Google. That just rocks.

The website is still currently down. I have the backup DVDs at work, just in case, and I'll retrieve the database dump when I get there, and then re-create any lost blog entries from the Google cache. Hopefully I won't find anything else amiss.

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