I'm trying to upgrade Postgresql from 9.2 to 9.3 in Fedora 18 using this command as the postgres user

$ pg_upgrade -b /bin -B /usr/pgsql-9.3/bin -d /var/lib/pgsql/data -D /var/lib/pgsql/9.3/data/ -j 2 -u postgres

The error in the log

command: "/bin/pg_ctl" -w -l "pg_upgrade_server.log" -D "/var/lib/pgsql/data" -o "-p 50432 -b -c listen_addresses='' -c unix_socket_permissions=0700 -c unix_socket_directory='/var/lib/pgsql'" start >> "pg_upgrade_server.log" 2>&1 waiting for server to start....FATAL: unrecognized configuration parameter "unix_socket_directory" .... stopped waiting pg_ctl: could not start server

As pointed by a_horse in the comments that parameter was replaced by unix_socket_directories (plural) in 9.3. But the server version being started is the old one 9.2:

$ /bin/pg_ctl --version
pg_ctl (PostgreSQL) 9.2.4

Any ideas?


I hacked the problem by running (as root):

mv /usr/bin/pg_ctl{,-orig}
echo '#!/bin/bash' > /usr/bin/pg_ctl
echo '"$0"-orig "${@/unix_socket_directory/unix_socket_directories}"' >> 
chmod +x /usr/bin/pg_ctl

Run pg_upgrade as intended, then undo the hack:

mv -f /usr/bin/pg_ctl{-orig,}

The problem is that pg_upgrade executes the program pg_ctrl with arguments that specify files in the old "unix_socket_directory" rather than the new "unix_socket_directories" (note the second is plural). This hack renames the original /usr/bin/pg_ctl to /usr/bin/pg_ctl-orig, and then creates a shell script in its place that simply calls the original pg_ctl program, passing all arguments with any strings "unix_socket_directory" changed to "unix_socket_directories".

In bash, one can change a portion of a string, say from bar to baz in a variable $foo, by using ${foo/bar/baz} (note this does not change the variable, but rather returns the variable's modified contents). Arrays can also be used with ${x/y/z} to retrieve an array with all of its contents replaced, all at once. The variable $@ is an array that contains all arguments passed to the program/script/function, so the new pg_ctl script executes the old one with all arguments changed from the old directory name to the new one.

  • 1
    this really allowed me to upgrade postgres 9.2 to 9.6 on Centos 7! Thanks! – sunsetjunks Dec 8 '17 at 19:17
  • 1
    Worked great for me going from 9.2 to 9.6. Thanks so much! No idea what I would have done without this answer! – SebK May 15 '18 at 8:18
  • Worked for me too, going from 9.2 to 9.6 on Centos 7 – Gabriel Theron Jul 19 '18 at 8:40
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    Maybe explaining the trickery of the bash hack could help others deal with similar problems in future. This is some serious bash twisting :-) – xor007 Nov 30 '18 at 14:27
  • Excellent & elegant solution, worked flawlessly for going from PostgreSQL 9.2 to 10.7 on CentOS 7 – wfgeo 2 days ago

I've got the same problem. I was upgrading from Fedora Repo's 9.2.4 to PGDG 9.3. The source of the problem is that Fedora backports changes of parameter unix_socket_directory to unix_socket_directories (see https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=853353).

My solution is to rebuild the pg_upgrade from sources, with update to file contrib/pg_upgrade/server.c:199 where pg_upgrade checks for server version:

199:       (GET_MAJOR_VERSION(cluster->major_version) < 903) ?

, in my case i change it to:

199:       (GET_MAJOR_VERSION(cluster->major_version) < 900) ?

(see my patch file here).

  • Could you please explain why does this fix the issue (to the likes of myself, who are not overly familiar with the sources (beware of the understatement!))? – dezso Sep 29 '13 at 7:44
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    As per @a_horse comment above, upstream PostgreSQL have changed the parameter unix_socket_directory to unix_socket_directories in version 9.3. But the Fedora maintainer backports it to lower version. So, pg_upgrade from PGDG (PostgreSQL Global Development Group) YUM Repository expects that the 9.2.4 version accepts unix_socket_directory, but actually the 9.2.4 from Fedora YUM Repository accepts unix_socket_directories. In this case, because Fedora backports it into version 9.0 onwards, i changed it to use unix_socket_directories for version >= 9.0. – Ali Akbar Sep 29 '13 at 22:46

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