::getting ready for edgy, part one

20 10 2006

Edgy Eft, the latest addition to the Ubuntu family of releases, is due to come out on October 26th. Release Candidate 1, which is pretty much the final beta, is already out. If you’re like me, that means that the time to upgrade is getting close. 

Over the next few days, and I’m hoping to keep with that schedule, I’m going to give a few suggestions for what I think will make for a successful upgrade.  Your mileage, as always, may vary.

Before any method of upgrading, it is absolutely necessary for most people to do a back up of their system.  I say most people only because there are some folks out there who don’t care about potentially losing the data that is on their computer.  Or think they don’t, anyway.  Experience has taught me to always do a back up of anycomputer I am upgrading.  After you make an irrevocable change to a computer, someone always finds that there was something they missed and want back.  If you do regular backups of your computer, you can probably just go with that.  If you don’t, you should–but that’s a topic for another day.

There are a couple of ways you can go about moving up to edgy. You can do a distribution upgrade, which basically entails changing your repos to edgy and using Synaptic, Apt, or Aptitude to upgrade. You could also do a fresh installation of edgy by downloading the .iso image and installing cleanly. There are other ways–dual booting with Windows, another linux, or even your previous Ubuntu installation, but I won’t really go into those.

I prefer to do clean installations rather than upgrades.  They are a little more work when it comes to preperation and wrap-up, but they generally to a lot smoother than trying to do a distribution upgrade.

Think of upgrading via the repositories as more or less equal to using a Windows CD to upgrade from the previous version of the OS. It is theoretically easier, and you (again, theoretically) don’t have to reinstall all of your applications and data.  In the Windows world, I have never seen this go smoothly–either through my own experiences or that of others.  In the Windows world, applications break, you run into file conflicts, and end up with a generally unstable system. 

I’ve only tried this once on Ubuntu, and the fact that it didn’t go well was probably my own mistake–I decided to go from Hoary to Breezy on either the day of or shortly after the release–the repositories timed out and I ended up with a half-complete installation.  Of course, I was still able to boot into the current and stable version, and probably could have finished the job that way, but I decided to save myself the trouble and download an .iso, going with the second method that I’m about to go over.  Based on my experience, though, I don’t recommend this method of upgrading. 

The other method of upgrading is a more or less clean installation–download an edgy CD and do a fresh installation from there.  If you keep your /home directory on it’s own partition, you can have everything up and running with the Edgy Eft in under 45 minutes, all your files and settings and loveliness intact as it was with the lovely and talented Dapper Drake.  If /home isn’t in the same partition, that’s where your backup will come in very handy, though it will probably take a few more hours to restore your data. 

The next installment in our upgrade saga will be backing up your your important files.  Then we’ll briefly go over an upgrade via the repos; and finally, the old fashioned-way.






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