To upgrade in-place to the point release 188.8.131.52.9 I just did
apt update and
reboot, and it bricked my Whonix:
Kernel Panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block(0,0)
In my case I was even more severely locked out because I had set my grub timeout to 0, and pressing shift (etc) to access grub didn’t work.
I managed to attach my Workstation’s VDI as a second storage drive to another workstation VM, boot into the other VM, and after booting off that other VM’s grub it strangely loaded my broken workstation as the actual linux system. I could then easily change its particular grub timeout to 5 again instead of mounting its file system externally and doing a more advanced manual grub edit.
So with grub access restored, I booted back in using an older kernel version and did:
sudo dpkg --configure -a
which fixed it.
I can now boot into the Whonix with normal newest kernel 4.19.0-8, and the problem is resolved.
But if this will happen to others in the course of normal system upgrading, people not as advanced will suddenly lose their Whonix! That is terrible for Whonix remaining accessible to people who really need it.
As a possible clue in my case, I have had kernel updates fail at the end of updates for quite a while. (But if it’s happening in my Whonix, isn’t it happening in others?)
People shouldn’t be expected to backup their Whonix right before every dist-upgrade, just in case the upgrade bricks their Whonix. Unless
dist-upgrade really is a major thing and people should only regularly perform
upgrade without having unexpected concerns?
Either way, this was really bad, so here I am reporting it. What can be done about it?