Today, I had a spare Fedora 11 machine sitting next to me, so I thought I’d try the upgrade to the newly-released Fedora 12, aka “Constantine.” Fedora support cycles are rather short compared to Ubuntu, so Fedora 11 will likely be de-supported in 6 to 7 months. Normally I’d wait a little longer into the Fedora 12 cycle for others to find the fun upgrade bugs and have them fixed for me, but I didn’t mind having to re-install from scratch on this machine if I needed to.

Following the Fedora documentation, I decided to use the “preupgrade” tool. Everything was going smoothly until the machine restarted to begin installation of the new packages. I got a message that there wasn’t enough space in my /boot partition. Specifically, the message claimed that there was insufficient disk space in /mnt/sysimage/boot. I found this rather odd and troubling, since I had let the Fedora installer determine the /boot partition size when I originally installed Fedora 11.

Turns out that this is a known problem with the preupgrade tool. A kind soul in #fedora on IRC directed me to the list of common Fedora 12 bugs, in particular the preupgrade free space check. I installed the updated preupgrade package as directed, but again got the error. That’s when I followed the next link for additional tips to free up space in /boot. The first was to remove obsolete kernels, which I had already done. The next was to run tune2fs on /boot filesystem to free up reserved blocks, which aren’t needed for /boot. I strongly suggest you visit the links provided for helpful screenshots and commands to follow.

After making these changes, the upgrade worked and am I’m the proud owner of a Fedora 12 Constantine laptop, with a slightly brighter shade of blue desktop than that crusty old Fedora 11. ;)