Fresh install?

Thorny thorntreehome at
Sat Oct 18 11:38:06 BST 2008

On Sat, 18 Oct 2008 03:06:52 -0400, Ric Moore wrote:

> On Wed, 2008-10-15 at 12:46 -0400, Bruce Marshall wrote:
>> On Wednesday 15 October 2008, Paul Lemmons wrote:
>> > Am I the only one with such a positive experience with the upgrade
>> > process? Do more of you upgrade or rebuild? Why the constant advice
>> > to backup your system, remember all of the apps you installed and
>> > then trash it to install clean and restore apps and files with a
>> > prayer that you did not miss anything?
>> I always do fresh installs.
>> 1) It cleans things up...
>> 2) You learn a lot.
>> 3) You get to find out what is new and don't miss some of the new
>> options. 4) If the upgrade goes bad, you are left with nothing.  And
>> need to install fresh anyway.  (this happened to me and is why I will
>> never upgrade again) 5) If you have a minor bug in the upgraded system,
>> you will never know whether it is a bug in the new release or some
>> incompatibility in the upgrade. 6) You learn a lot 7) You get to go
>> over your notes.  (you *do* have notes don't you?) 8) You can get rid
>> of things you never use or that didn't work out. 9) If you have the
>> space, you can install the new and still keep the old, thus having both
>> to cross-check things/bugs. 10) You learn a lot.
> I agree. Running Fedora I upgraded from FC4 to FC5 and udev went ape on
> bootup. It took a clean install to fix it. I've never trusted an update
> since, especially when major upgrades of gcc and the like are involved.
> What I do now is easier to me than an upgrade, I keep two major
> partitions and freshly install to one, while keeping the older version
> on it's own partition. Then, the install goes quickly and usually
> without any fuss. I get to play with it in "pristine" condition and
> slowly move data from the old to the new. I do that in baby steps. If
> something goes wrong, I just have one issue to deal with instead of a
> hopeless pile of errors to witch-hunt through.
Certainly it is a matter of personal choice, whether to fresh install or
not and I'm not trying to say that it is wrong to do so. On a simple
workstation installation, especially one with only one user, it doesn't
take too long to set things up the way you want them again, that may not
be true for a more complex installation.

I don't mean this to be insulting Ric but just because a person has
difficulty with an upgrade doesn't mean the fault is due to the upgrade. I
don't know FC but I do remember when Debian moved from Sarge to Etch as
the stable release. Big changes bring big opportunities for problems.
However, most of the problems that people had in Debian were covered in
the release notes and many people didn't read them and follow the
procedure given in them. I don't know if FC has release notes or if they
would have helped. Just a note here, I thought I knew Debian well enough
to just go ahead and ended up with a borked system which took me a couple
of days to correct. But, by fixing it I did learn where I made an error
and why things didn't work out, much more instructive than just
reinstalling. It was not a which hunt, it was logical troubleshooting. I
do realise anything above our current level of knowledge can appear to be

That being said, I agree with your two partition method, if one has a
spare partition for it, your approach adds a measure of safety as you have
detailed. In fact it's similar to what I do, just that I used that copy of
the system as a fallback position, booted to it because it wasn't updated
and it was still working, then I chrooted into the borked filesystem to
fix it.

I just wanted to add my $.02 of a different opinion. There are systems
with a level of complexity that it is not time-saving to do a clean
install, on simple workstations it could be. There are probably
opportunities for learning either way. I do know that a fair number of
Kubuntu users do recommend the fresh install method, just earlier this
morning, in the Kubuntu forum I saw a post where a long-time user
recommended not even saving /home, but always doing a fresh install when a
new version comes out.

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