Where did Core Update 140 go?

by Michael Tremer, February 10, 2020

Do you like what you are reading? Subscribe to our newsletter and don't miss out on the latest...   Join Now

You will have seen that we have just release an announcement for testing the next release of IPFire - IPFire 2.25 - Core Update 141. The major release number has changed as well as a Core Update has been skipped. But why?

Rolling, rolling, rolling...

IPFire is a rolling release. There are very few, but some systems that have been updated all the way through since 2007, when the first release of IPFire 2 was published. Despite some bugs during the update process, it is never necessary to reinstall your firewall. And why would you do that? We have replaced the whole base system underneath it not only once, but countless times.

IPFire is a modern distribution with its roots somewhere in the past. However, sometimes we need to break things. On purpose. We have removed old crypto that is dangerously broken and we have removed features that virtually nobody has been using any more - simply because the world looked different in 2007 than in 2017.

Bump to IPFire 2.25

This time, the reason for bumping the release to 2.25 is that we have upgraded to GCC 9. A new compiler brings some new libraries and changes some other things that are not backwards-compatible. So add-ons compiled with the new compiler won't work on older systems. We create a new directory on the server with everything compiled with the new compiler every time this happens. It is as simple as that.

But where has Core Update 140 gone?

It does exist. You will see it when you upgrade from Core Update 139 or older. The update is a regular update as any other, but it does not bring any new files. It only performs cleanup tasks...

You might have seen that your /boot or / filling up. In the past, with a kernel size of about one megabyte we thought a /boot partition of 20 MB is plenty. Now, a single kernel is 20MB. In the meantime we have increase the size of that partition to 64MB and that again is not enough.

The same goes for the / partition. It used to be 2GB no matter how large the disk is. The remaining space was allocated to /var. Right now, we are shipping almost half a gigabyte of firmware blobs and about 1GB of system libraries. With a couple of add-ons, 2GB is very tight.

Core Update 140 therefore aggressively cleans up what we can get rid of. Old versions of system libraries, etc. For some users that might give you a little bit more breathing space, but ultimately there is a chance that you will have to reinstall to get the new partition layout.

On a newly installed system you will get a /boot partition of 128MB and a / partition as large as the remaining disk space. That will give you all the space you need for any add-ons.

With using the backup functionality, IPFire is quickly reinstalled within about 15 minutes and comes back up just as it has been before. If you have not already done so, I once again would like to recommend to upgrade from 32 bit to 64 bit if your hardware allows it. If not, consider getting new hardware.

The update process would automatically stop if there is not enough space available to install Core Update 141 and log a message.

Apologies for this, but it is hard to predict more than a decade of software development.