Upgrade or Re-install - Edgy to Feisty

Jeffrey F. Bloss jbloss at tampabay.rr.com
Fri Mar 16 18:51:38 UTC 2007

Anthony M Simonelli wrote:

> I'm running LTSP 5 / Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy on a HP Proliant server at work
> for about 5 users (in the process of adding more).  I'm wondering the
> following:
> -  Will it be very difficult to upgrade from Edgy to Feisty when
> Feisty is released?  

There's a "prescribed" method that's pretty consistent and
straightforward from one distribution to another...


Note the comment about using the Alternate Install CD. If possible I'd
burn a fresh one just prior to upgrading and go that route. Eliminates
the chances some odd network problem will bugger your upgrade in mid

> -  Should I wait about a month before upgrading to make sure there are
> no bugs in the upgrade process?

As a general rule of thumb it's advisable to avoid major server upgrades
like this until or unless they're absolutely necessary. If the newer
release offers something you can't live without and your current release
does not, or the older release is deemed obsolete or unsupported by the
distribution maintainers, as examples.

Strictly speaking, a mission critical installation should still be
running 6.06 LTS. As someone who built and maintained small to medium
sized networks for almost two decades, even my pathetic little home
mail server is running LTS. Upgrading isn't even a consideration until
2011 when support for 6.06 is scheduled to end.

If you're intent on moving to Feisty, I'd wait a *minimum* of 6 months
and insist on seeing plenty of first hand reports of successful server
upgrades even then. You don't want to play guinea pig, especially with
company resources. 

> -  Will I have to upgrade the entire system and the Chroot environment
> as well?

You shouldn't, or rather it should be automatic. But there's always a
chance some random software package either isn't available or depends
on something that isn't available in the newer distribution. Solutions
vary from upgrading (or downgrading) some packages manually via source
code or vendor packages, to finding another solution entirely. Those
scenarios are generally rare though.

> -  Will it be easier to backup everyone's home directory and
> re-install?

Easier? No. Necessary? Possibly. ;)

Don't even *think* about trying to upgrade a company server without a
good backup, and don't stop with /home. Get all your config files for
any services you're running, SSL keys if applicable, shared data, etc.

To do otherwise is pure folly. If the "easy" upgrade goes well you've
only wasted a bit of time and some backup media space. If you do need
the backup and don't have it... you're royally screwed. Do the backup,
and make the issue of which way to upgrade academic. Try an in-place
upgrade and if it fails, wipe the sucker. Worst case scenario,
reinstall Edgy and copy over your backed up data/configs and you're

> -  Will I get all of the changes in Feisty EXACTLY like I'd installed
> a fresh copy?  (i.e. Gnome Control Center)

In theory, yes. Everything should be updated to the most current,
available versions. And if some software isn't available it *should* be
left alone. But of course theory and reality sometimes diverge. If
you're running odball software or something that's not "officially" in
the Ubuntu repository, a broken dependency caused by a newer version of
something your software uses is the most common troublemaker in my

     _?_      Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
    (o o)         Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.
-oOO-(_)--OOo------------------------------[ Groucho Marx ]---
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