Last night I upgraded the Operating System of my taper mirror (which also hosts the Wiki for docs.slackware.com) to Slackware 13.37 plus patches. It has been running Slackware 13.1 reliably for two years now, but I do not want my public servers to be more than one OS release behind the most recent version.
With Slackware 14 around the corner this was the perfect opportunity to spend a sleepless night on an upgrade. Using slackpkg, I basically followed the procedure which I recently added to SlackDocs: http://docs.slackware.com/howtos:slackware_admin:systemupgrade using my own local package mirror.
No issues were encountered. I kept all services running, as long as they were in RAM they would not be affected by the package’s binaries being replaced on disk.
The upgrade to 13.37 was also a requirement for any future upgrade to the Dokuwiki software which I use for the docs.slackware.com Wiki. The pcre package in Slackware 13.1 lacks proper unicode support and that breaks the search function in the new beta of Dokuwiki. This is what you should see (and Slackware 13.37 does it right):
$ pcretest -C | grep -i unicode
Unicode properties support
\R matches all Unicode newlines
Nobody has noticed that I upgraded the OS 🙂 The server did not go down except for a reboot into the new kernel… all in all, the server was unavailable for 30 seconds. A Slackware system upgrade works flawlessly, which distro can beat that?!?