Well, the garage is back together, and so is the server.
Let me note here that unlike some people, i'm not really a big fan of rebuilding a server or two. However, having had a several major revisions, and more and more stuff just generally breaking on me, i decided to update my garage box to the latest Ubuntu distro.
Let me also note that it Kinda Sorta did the right thing. It forced me to repartition and format my root drive (Yay for giving me a reason to repartition off my root from my home, boo for not making it optional.). i can only presume that it was because it required a Linux ext3 based filesystem and the original drive was a Linux ext3 based filesys… no, wait, that can't be it. Nor could it be the fact that no-matter what i tried to do to avoid reformatting that drive, the partitioner would fire and ask me to do that.
Thank God for an older drive i had shoe-horned in that box a while ago.
Drive needlessly formatted, and system installed, i then set about trying to reinstate various services and packages. Fortunately, the reinstall actually fixed aptitude so that it worked. All said and done, i've got a few thoughts:
1. i really don't like doing this. i like working on code and solving real problems, not wading through documentia obscura trying to determine why i can't get X to run. (no, not X the desktop thing. It doesn't run because i didn't install it. It's a server, it doesn't need X. i meant X as in the Unknown.)
2. Unix is fragile. Seriously. It really doesn't take a lot to through a whole system out of kilter. Mind you, same's true with any other system, it's just also a lot harder to figure out what to do afterwards.
3. There needs to be a standard conf file format. Well, that and the folks that thought up sendmail.cf and a few others need to be taken out back.
Geez, we've been working with these things for a quarter century. You'd really think it'd be easier by now.