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How to access the GUI during a remote NetWare 5.1 to NetWare 6.5 Upgrade

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Carl Whitbeck, Dave Grasso

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Posted: 4 May 2005
 

Ever attempt to upgrade a NetWare 5.1 server to NetWare 6.5 remotely? According to the Novell forums, many of you have ... and many have run into the same problem that we ran into last year: How do you access the server through the GUI-portion of the upgrade?!

No problem, you might think. You can simply use a response file, right? Unfortunately, while a response file is available for a new build, it is not an option for an upgrade.

OK, so maybe redirect the GUI console modifying the startx.ncf parameters? Well, that will work?until the server reboots and you have to re-establish connectivity. The upgrade not only overwrites the startx.ncf and erases your custom configuration; the file is moved to another directory! Hot on the trail of updating the "new" file in the source code, you find that startx.ncf is subsequently not used following the reboot?!

One last shot...VNC? Depends on what version of Java you have on your servers. ARGH!

Now, we could ask Novell why the response file is not an option for an upgrade when it is for a new build? After all, you already know the parameters for an upgrade and a response file is generated during the process, so the upgrade code read those values. Or we could ask why, if all I'm doing is entering data and authenticating like we've done for years through nwconfig, that we cannot have that as an interface option. However, the answers to those questions do not help us for our current issus. Hopefully this document will be of use to those of you who have posted the question and still need to perform the upgrade.

First, get the basic redirection working by using existing Cool Solutions or TIDs that can be found on Novell's website or other resources. We based our solution off of TID 10060342, but used the free Cygwin/X tool rather than Hummingbird's Exceed. This process will define the proper parameters in the sys:java\nwgfx\startx.ncf file for your environment and will establish "proof of concept." The Cygwin site and the TID provided enough documentation to install the client software, modify the appropriate configuration files, and get the redirection working in a fairly short time.

Now for the fun part! During the initial code copy, several files are copied to the c:\inst_tmp directory. These files are used when the server reboots, defines the parameters necessary to re-launch the GUI and can be found on the source code CD under the "INSTALL" directory. Look for the file called "gui_inst.ils." If you cannot locate this file, simply search for it in Windows Explorer on your source CD. The key to solving the redirection problem is that you have to modify the gui_inst.ils file!

In script code that is gui_inst.ils, insert a line similar to what you did in the startx.ncf file to define the environment variable necessary to direct the graphical interface to your workstation's IP address. This line will be placed immediately before the line that calls "xinit.nlm." Below is an excerpt of the gui_inst.ils file. Note that the only text that was modified was the line that we included in bold:

;#########################################  Start Gui ################################## 
; new image install	1) start GUI
; local upgrade		1) start GUI, 2) add search paths
; remote upgrade	1) add search paths, 2) load DS.NLM
; local gui should not be loaded on a remote install
GotoIfEqual %{RemoteInstall},1,NO_START_GUI

; set search drives for nis & java
console 'nisetsi.ncf',2
; startup xwindows

console 'envset DISPLAY=xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:0',1

NLMexec 0,'XINIT.NLM'
delay '8'
console 'dosetup.ncf',2
goto END_GUI

Where xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx is the IP address of the workstation where you are running the Cygwin/X software. When you initially set up the redirection using startx.ncf, you probably defined two variables in that file, "env" and "envset." By only defining the "envset" parameter in the gui_inst.ils file, you only pass the application across the wire. If you watch the server, the graphical interface will appear, but the upgrade application will be redirected to your workstation. You can include both variables, however the entire environment is sent across the wire.

Basically, once you get the redirection working through startx.ncf, you can modify your install\gui_inst.ils to re-establish connectivity after the reboot and you're ready to go.

We hope this helps!


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