Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Caution: objects on the Internet are closer (and more wrong) than they appear

I love being a father.  At the ripe age of 43, I find myself married and father to three of the greatest kids in the world; most of the time.  My oldest is just under 16 and rules the roost as he is learning to drive and stretching his wings before he starts to take flight.  My middle is as complex and full of joy and love that any new teenager can be and she brightens my day.  My youngest, however, is adorable and every inch that his father is.  Unfortunately that last bit is both good and bad.  I am have an obnoxious streak in me and tend to live with a bit of a selfish side.  I love to tinker and think through problems while asserting my mental dominance. 

So, what is the meaning of this post?  Well, it serves two purposes.  It shows that our youth today are very keyed into the Internet and unfortunately believe what they have read as gospel truth.  My youngest loves YouTube and enjoys watching videos on how people build things or make things.  Paper airplanes are his thing now.   A few weeks ago, it would have been paper guns.  I cannot tell you how many reams of paper we have blown through at the house recently.  I have actually had to put a ban on him using my paper because I couldn't print anything for work!  

A few days ago we were were having a discussion about something-or-other and he was adamant he had the answer and the truth.  I asked where he heard of such a thing?  His answer?  YouTube!   

Then I started being obnoxious and overly agreeing with him that if it was posted on YouTube, it must be true - you know, how Dad's can be obnoxious.  Anyway, with all the stuff on the Internet, whether that is Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or hearsay from friends (these are all the technologies my children employ), it is amazing how easily our youth will believe the information they read, without critically thinking about it and asking any relevant questions.  We must ask questions, or give up our ability to be free-thinkers.  Right?

The second reason I am writing this is because I recently had a situation with a friend's linux system that was restarted in the middle of an update process and unfortunately, it created in the neighborhood of 1400 conflicts with 700 duplicated packages (the yum process installed a bunch, but never got the opportunity to clear the older packages out).  Also, a new kernel was installed, but it never created the initramfs image for the boot process (kernel panic on reboot).  

So in researching how I could correct this, I found a bunch of articles list how to find duplicates on the system and remove them, the most common being:

package-cleanup --dupes
 which will find the duplicates on the system.  Now comes the crux of this part:  some sites and forums say to run:
package-cleanup --cleandupes
which is like throwing a sledgehammer at a tack.  HORRIBLE.   It will remove all the duplicates.  I didn't find any way that it would discern which packages to remove.  Unfortunately, performing this would most likely have left me with a system that is unusable and unstable.  

Then I thought, I would pipe the package-cleanup --dupes command to a text file - grab the text file from SCP and within a separate console/terminal to the linux system, would run:
yum remove <package name>
Now this isn't a bad approach, but even the YUM REMOVE has no functionality that helps protect against stupidity, like removing a key file that you will need for the rest of your system (I removed openldap duplicate file and I chose the wrong version which uninstalled a bunch of dependencies also and hosed the system - had to reinstall openldap by hand and add back in my removed dependencies).

Now I am running:
package-cleanup --dupes
command with the following:
rpm -e <packagename>
which gives me the opportunity to see what I am directly affecting.

The point is - you cannot believe what you read on the Internet and don't take it at face value.  You have to dig a bit deeper to understand what is at the root of the problem you are tackling.

Of course, all of this is just IMHO!

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