Installation without formatting fails to remove old kernels

Bug #690911 reported by Phillip Susi on 2010-12-16
This bug report is a duplicate of:  Bug #1586303: clear_partitions doesn't clear /boot. Edit Remove
60
This bug affects 13 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
ubiquity (Ubuntu)
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

Binary package hint: ubiquity

When installing without formatting the target partition, the installer deletes various system files to avoid conflicts, including /lib, however it leaves existing kernels in /boot. These should also be removed since they become broken when their corresponding modules in /lib are deleted, and if they are newer than the ones being reinstalled ( likely ) they will become the default kernel leaving you with an unbootable system.

Peter Lemieux (seijisensei) wrote :

An ever bigger problem is that the installer leaves behind all the stale kernels in /boot. I can see keeping the most recent good kernel, and even perhaps the next-oldest version, but kernels older than that should be removed by ubiquity. If you allocate /boot to a separate partition, as I do, even a reasonably-sized boot partition (say 256 MB) can fill up if you're running a development release. I've been running Kubuntu 12.04b2 for a while now, and this morning had half-a-dozen kernel images in /boot. All the space was consumed, and the installer was unable to build a matching initrd image.

It would also result in a much cleaner set of options in the list at boot.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in ubiquity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Otto Kekäläinen (otto) wrote :

I regularly install security updates. As I've now been running 12.04 for over a year, I have now 24 old kernel versions (in series 3.2.x) taking up to 1,7 gigabytes of disk space.

I did now run the spell
dpkg -l 'linux-*' | sed '/^ii/!d;/'"$(uname -r | sed "s/\(.*\)-\([^0-9]\+\)/\1/")"'/d;s/^[^ ]* [^ ]* \([^ ]*\).*/\1/;/[0-9]/!d' | xargs sudo apt-get -y purge

..but I hope Ubuntu would have some built-in mechanism to remove old kernels, since regular users are not likely to do this kind of maintenance manually.

pabouk (pabouk) wrote :

Please see a related bug:
Bug #1089195 linux-headers will eat your inodes on LTS.
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/update-manager/+bug/1089195

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