Arch Linux developers warn of update problems
The Arch Linux developers are warning users of problems they might encounter when updating their systems. The Arch maintainers are staging a merge of the distribution's /bin, /sbin and /lib directories into the /usr directory that has already been undertaken in distributions such as Mageia and Fedora; openSUSE also moved its directories in a similar way with version 12.2 of its distribution last year. In contrast with these distributions, Arch operates on a rolling release system, which means that there is no "full release" in which the developers can make these changes. The developers therefore have to make the change in a regular update.
This update will, though, result in an error message from the package manager:
error: failed to commit transaction (conflicting files)
filesystem: /bin exists in filesystem
The announcement lists the steps users will have to take to remedy this situation and the developers urge caution, especially in checking that all partitions are mounted correctly during the update. Software from third party repositories also needs to be checked manually to confirm that it has been moved. The developers recommend opening a second root shell to perform the update itself, especially when updating over SSH.
Developer Tom Gundersen had posted to the distribution's development mailing list in March, explaining the details of the move and the reasoning behind it.