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Linux upgrade from i386/i686 to x86_64

April 1st, 2011

This article describes upgrade CentOS 5.5 from i386 arch to x86_64 arch.

First of all, upgrade kernel and boot loader from CD. For my system this operation was done by hosting provider.

After kernel upgrade system have a lot of i386/i686 packages. It isn’t possible to upgrade each package manually. For example, my CentOS had 300+ packages.

To continue you need to install yum

The algorithm of upgrading is simple:

  1. install for each i386/i686 package its x86_64 analogue
  2. erase i386/i686 packages

But it can be complicated, because any packages uses the same paths or something else and you need manually to install RPMs.

Let’s begin.

Install yum plugin yum-downloadonly:

yum install yum-allowdowngrade

Then take a list of packages for upgrade:

rpm -qa --qf "%{name}.%{arch}\n" | grep -E "i386|i686"

Copy this list into your text editor and replace “.i386” and “.i686” with “.x86_64”. Also replace all returns with spaces. You will take something like this:

glibc.x86_64 readline.x86_64 ncurses.x86_64

Now download this packages RPMs:

yum install --downloadonly --downloaddir=/root/rpms/ <packages>

where <packages> are in my example glibc.x86_64 readline.x86_64 ncurses.x86_64

Of course directory/root/rpms/ must exist.

When yum finishes to download hundreds of packets, chdir to /root/rpms/ and execute

rpm -i --force *.rpm

rpm will force installation of all downloaded packages.

After installation you need come back to your i386/i686 packages list and uninstall them.

yum erase <packages>

where <packages> are in my example glibc.i686 readline.i386 ncurses.i386

That’s all!

Categories: Linux, Plesk Tags: , ,
  1. Victoriano Giralt
    August 27th, 2013 at 06:15 | #1

    Thanks a lot! very useful.


    + In modern distros, like CentOS, you have to install yum-plugin-downloadonly.noarch for the downloadonly option

    + The package editing can be reduced with creative use of sed, like:
    rpm -qa –qf “%{name}.%{arch}\n” | grep -E “i386|i686” | sed -e ‘s/i.86/x86_64/’ > newrpms
    rpm -qa –qf “%{name}.%{arch}\n” | grep -E “i386|i686” > oldrpms

    Then, the lists can be placed in any command by way of $(cat newrpms)

    Maybe that at some point an “rpm –rebuilddb” might be needed.

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