update-manager/grub should warn about old kernels ahead of the automatically generated ones

Bug #414943 reported by brodypierre@gmail.com on 2009-08-17
6
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
update-manager (Ubuntu)
Low
Unassigned

Bug Description

Binary package hint: update-manager

 This relates to the following bug, but has worse consequences -- subtle partial failure.
#79332 [Feisty] useless kernel retained in grub bootlist

I upgraded from 8.04 to 8.10, then to 9.04, using System->Administration->Update Manager

At the end, /boot/grub/menu.lst had the old line in addition to new lines for Jaunty.

So, the system automatically booted up with the old kernel which was still in /boot. The bug is that this APPEARED to work. The X system was running, most apps were running. But X would crash every few seconds, and the audio was jittery.

Ubuntu should have raised clear error messages and refused to boot with an old kernal and newer, incompatible user-level OS software. A state of partial failure, of an OS that "mostly works" but has inexplicable bugs, is very hard to solve. The following bug http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1241161 , for example, was leading me down several long and mistaken paths.

Another problem: The new menu.lst lines for Jaunty referenced the wrong harddrive, so that these entries would not work. Lucky for me that the old entry, with the old kernel, partially worked, at least long enough for me to edit menu.lst once I figured out the above problem!

ProblemType: Bug
Architecture: i386
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 9.04
Package: update-manager 1:0.111.9
PackageArchitecture: all
ProcEnviron:
 LANG=en_US.UTF-8
 SHELL=/bin/bash
SourcePackage: update-manager
Uname: Linux 2.6.28-14-generic i686

Michael Vogt (mvo) wrote :

Thanks for your bugreport.

It looks like you manually edited the menu.lst file and put the hardy kernel there. I agree that there should be a warning though.

Changed in update-manager (Ubuntu):
status: New → Triaged
importance: Undecided → Low
summary: - Old kernel should refuse to boot after update to Jaunty
+ update-manager/grub should warn about old kernels ahead of the
+ automatically generated ones
Michael Vogt (mvo) wrote :

With karmic we will have to check against grub.cfg (menu.lst is gone there)

> It looks like you manually edited the menu.lst file and put the hardy kernel there.
Yes, I edited menu.lst. I didn't actually put the hardy-kernel line there, but I did have to make lots of changes to accomodate my 2-disk dual-boot configuration.

> I agree that there should be a warning though.
Yes, agreed. The bootup with an old kernel, but an otherwise newer OS, creates a hard-to-diagnose situation where the system mostly works but has lots of tricky bugs. It's OK to give a warning rather than actually refuse to boot.

This bug may be a matter more for grub than update manager, as the warning should be issued whether or not update-manager edited menu.lst

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