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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

By Joe Barr on May 08, 2008 (7:00:00 PM)

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Which path should you follow? Should you take advantage of Ubuntu's package manager and use it to upgrade your system to the latest 8.04 Hardy Heron release, or should you download a CD or DVD ISO image and do a clean install? Common wisdom says that doing a clean install is the better, safer course of action. There may be a little extra work involved configuring everything once the latest and greatest is installed, but that's nothing compared to the pain of an update gone wrong, according to traditional thinking. But that cautious approach may no longer be necessary.

I did a clean install of Ubuntu 8.04 recently on my development machine. It was a quick and easy process. I backed up the data and configuration files residing in my /home directory, installed the new release, then copied my saved data back in place. Nothing to it, and everything worked when I was through.

But when the Ubuntu 7.10 package manager recently offered to upgrade me to release 8.04 when it was showing me the latest security updates available, I decided it was time to try the upgrade path as well.

I did this in spite of the advice I heard in the #ubuntu channel at irc.freenode.net. The unanimous opinion I received from the three people who responded was to do a clean install, although one of the three said he personally used upgrade because it left him with less to do afterward. The reasons for recommending a clean install included risk avoidance, better results for complex configurations, and speed. One of the three noted most of the 8.04 installation problems he had seen in the channel came from those taking the upgrade path.

Back up early and often

When you do a clean install, you know beforehand that you are going to lose everything you don't specifically back up and then restore after the install. When you do an update, you hope that everything will still be there and still work when you're finished. The most important thing to remember when doing an update is the same thing that's most important to remember when you do a clean install: back up everything before you begin.

I have two hard drives on my primary desktop. One is almost completely dedicated to backing up my email, photo, video, and text files from my /home directory. It has gotten quite large over the years. Before starting the upgrade process to Ubuntu 8.04, I made sure my backups were completely up-to-date.

I started the upgrade at 11:00 a.m. one morning, and finally finished the process at 6:30 a.m. the next day. Yes, I did take time off to sleep, but that's still a long time. In comparison, doing a clean install took only an hour on my alternate desktop machine.

The process begins by downloading the upgrade tool. That's followed by something called "setting new software channels," which appears to be identifying which repositories you need in order to bring all currently installed applications up-to-date. Those two tasks combined took less than half an hour to finish.

The largest chunk of time -- about 12 hours -- was spent downloading new packages. I'm sure much of the reason for the slow speed can be attributed to the fact that many others were doing the same thing at the same time I was, with available bandwidth shrinking to fit demand. Downloading and burning a complete 8.04 ISO image took less than an hour a few days earlier. Because it took so long to download the new packages, I ran another backup of my email files when I was ready to start applying changes, then closed the email app -- just in case.

The next step was to install and configure the new packages. This, too, takes longer to do than starting from scratch with a new install -- about an hour on my machine. Early on, the progress bar advised I had 33 minutes remaining, but the remaining time shown increased the further it went. In the end, I went to bed and let it continue by itself. A couple of the applications (CUPS and PostgreSQL) required interactive participation, so when I returned to the computer the next morning, I had to choose between keeping the old configuration files or replacing them.

The remaining upgrade steps (cleanup and reboot) went smoothly, and I finally found myself sitting across the keyboard from Ubuntu 8.04, almost 24 hours after my journey began. But my email accounts and data were there immediately, and my browser toolbar and bookmarks were present and accounted for as well.

Which is best?

Having installed Ubuntu 8.04 both ways, by upgrade and also with a fresh installation, which do I prefer and which would I recommend? The answers are not the same.

After having used both, I'm solidly in the "clean install" corner. It was faster by far, and not only seems to be a cleaner course of action, with fewer opportunities for a misstep, but offers greater control over how the new installation will operate, since any and all control decisions bubble up to the surface during the process.

But the clean install approach may not be the right choice for you. In my mind, the swing point in the decision is this: if you are an experienced Ubuntu user more interested in having a system ready to use and as identical to the previous installation as possible, consider an upgrade instead of an install. If you are not as confident in your Ubuntu-foo, or are more interested in having the latest and greatest packages rather than a system that behaves immediately just as the previous one did, go with a clean install.

The good news is that both processes seemed to work well for me.

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on Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 84.0.63.94] on May 08, 2008 07:12 PM
"an update gone wrong, according to traditional thinking"

Forgive me for putting it plainly, but nobody should ever touch a distro with a thousand-foot pole if it can't do a clean update between releases. No way in hell.

This is not something that is just being discovered, it's a way of doing updates in sane distros for ages now, and it's a good way so. I don't have anything against Ubuntu, I'm saying this totally generally: if it can't do it, drop it in the trash and use one which can ! My longest Linux install lasted many years, survived many partial and full hardware replacements, and it was good so.

One shouldn't educate people to be tolerant with distros that might brake an upgrade process, people should drop that distro, or demand a proper and trustworthy upgrade process that always works. End of line.

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 12.169.163.241] on May 08, 2008 07:58 PM
Agreed. Debian has long been the champion of reliable upgrades- you just don't need to do a clean installation, unless you've gone out of your way to hork your system by using oddball third-party repos, or have manually muddled with the package manager and forced it to do bad things. Clean installations are skanky Windows artifacts, because each Windows release is such a drastic change, and because Windows rapidly bit-rots. The filesystem fragments, and it gets bogged down with weird junk. This doesn't happen on Linux, which on a well-administered system gets better with time. Another reason for preferring a clean installation is the spring-cleaning impulse, like your Linux PC needs to have the attic cleaned and the windows washed and the rugs taken outside and beaten. Unless your system is seriously messed-up, it's just not necessary. Even a very messed-up Linux system can be fixed; it's just a question of which is faster- fixing or re-installing.

A clean installation takes more than one hour. First of all it's longer than that to download the ISO. Then after installation you need to upgrade it to pick up changes after the ISO was released. Then you have to reinstall whatever applications don't come in the default installation, and you may get bitten by changes in configuration file options or file locations. If you keep /home on a separate partition your data won't be affected, but you'll need to restore /etc from backup. Unless you keep that on a separate partition as well.

Sure, I know lots of Ubuntu fans claim a long streak of successful upgrades, but I'm skeptical- in my own experience and my customer's, they fail as often as they work. I do like adding the dist-upgrade option to the updater, that's a nice time-saver.

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Re(1): Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 12.169.163.241] on May 08, 2008 08:06 PM
p.s.- as the article says, it's great to have both options.

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Re(1): Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 98.240.226.174] on May 08, 2008 09:21 PM
The download took me around fifteen minutes to download and burn. The installation at most took 20 minutes. This is much less time than using the update manager.

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 129.81.19.182] on May 08, 2008 10:01 PM
Yeah, must be the posters slow internet speed. I upgraded, the whole thing took about an hour and a half.

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 98.216.48.246] on May 09, 2008 02:14 AM
For what it's worth, the day before yesterday I did an upgrade, not a clean install, from 6.06LTS to Hardy Heron on an IBM Thinkpad R50e. It took about three hours and everything seems to work perfectly. The experience was comparable to upgrading from one version of OS/X to another, only less work.

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 123.243.168.186] on May 09, 2008 05:52 AM
One should not post if they are unable to spell and have a rather poor grasp on grammer

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Re(1): Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.203.253.240] on May 09, 2008 12:19 PM
You're castigating others about spelling, yet you can't spell grammar??? Please spare us.

On to the subject-- I upgraded all of my computers, including my Dell laptop (XPS - with native Ubuntu), rather than do a clean install. Time wise, the upgrade was painfully slow--but I did not have to reinstall of the other software not already available on the CD.

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Re(1): Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 198.16.10.9] on May 09, 2008 06:02 PM
I would think one should not post if he is unable to spell and has a rather poor grasp on grammar such as subject-verb agreement, not to mention spelling.

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 205.166.218.39] on May 09, 2008 05:34 PM
I had absolutely no problem upgrading my XUbuntu system. The process was relatively hands off, sure I had config file questions, but I didn't have to set anything back up again. I was able to do this between loads of laundry and other chores. I have a long history of seamless updates since the 6.06 LTS release and non of them took a long time to accomplish - couple hours typically

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.36.84.111] on May 10, 2008 02:49 PM
I tried to do a clean install from CD, which failed 3 times. After a clean re-install of Gutsy, I did a upgrade to Hardy, with no problems. Go figure. Having both options is the way to go.

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 59.92.183.72] on May 12, 2008 03:58 PM
I found clean install more convenient than uograde

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 166.70.56.51] on May 08, 2008 07:20 PM
I upgraded 6 of my personal and production servers from Ubuntu 7.10 to Ubuntu 8.04, some of them directly from Ubuntu 6.06 and everything continues to work flawlessly. I should not be required to clean-install, particularly on a production server. Ubuntu is doing the right thing and doing it well. The occasion where you may actually have conflicts during an upgrade is when you've installed applications from outside of the distribution repositories. If you stay in house, the house will help you.

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Been upgrading since Breezy (5.10)

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 65.120.181.2] on May 08, 2008 07:43 PM
My desktop has gone through every update since Breezy Badger (5.10). The only thing that ever breaks during updates is MythTV. The machine is still running fast and healthy, too.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.6.6.10] on May 08, 2008 07:45 PM
I used Ubuntu for quite a while unfortunately I've found 8.04 to be significantly less robust - is it really a good idea to default install a BETA version of a browser, this has caused a number of xwindows bail outs (just a relogin but people on my buddies list have asked am I using windows again)

Theres also a problem with (I think) nautilus with complete lockups

A real shame but I've had to move to a more stable distribution

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 84.102.107.18] on May 08, 2008 07:56 PM
I just did the upgrade on 3 machines. All that broke was the beta nvidia I need for the Nvidia 9600GT card on one fo the machines, but that was easy fixed. The rest is flawless. As for the beta Firefox, I've been using Swiftfox and that's been 3.0 beta for quite a while so I'm used to it. 10/10 for Ubuntu and their Distro that is not only easy to use, but it just works!

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 89.8.154.224] on May 08, 2008 08:01 PM
With Ubuntu I do clean installs only. Being a bit blunt; trash from one version is more than enough. I must admit that much of the hype around Ubuntu is just that - a hype. With the 8.04.1 version due around 07 July 08 it will become stable hopefully (by Ubuntu standards). On the other hand they might already be rather preoccupied with 8.10 - why bother with flaws?

When forced to choose between update or fresh install: Wait 'till mid August and perform a fresh install of 8.04.1.

I really do wish for a pro-linux writer to scrutinize Ubuntu - it's a nice facade on a rotten skeleton.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 199.64.0.252] on May 08, 2008 08:28 PM
I let a single monitor system upgrade from 7.10 to 8.04 and 4 hours later, all was well. Now I have a dual monitor system with drive trays that I run 6 different distros in. I've got a second tray that houses a 500GB storage drive. My 7.10 dual monitor setup is wonderful but I can't keep another drive with an 8.04 setup in dual monitor mode. It always reverts back to single monitor mode when I power up. It's a pain. My plan is to let my 7.10 upgrade to 8.04 and see if my dual monitor set up is kept. I'll keep you posted.

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install? Hello, It's me again...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 199.64.0.252] on May 08, 2008 08:37 PM
I just wanted to add that Mepis 7.0 automatically partitions a separate /home directory and it makes these questions a non-issue. It is also the friendliest distro I've seen for dual monitor control. If you have or want dual monitors, give Mepis a try. I love Ubuntu, but I also love Mepis.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 207.212.66.229] on May 08, 2008 08:29 PM
I did an upgrade from 7.10 to 8.04 using update manager. No problems were encountered outside of magnatunes failing to update the database.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 156.74.250.7] on May 08, 2008 08:38 PM
I did the update route as the author did and I encountered the same long wait time. I let the machine go for a few hours, checking back once in a while as to whether user interaction was needed. I did this on a Saturday while doing my chores and things worked out fine.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 129.33.49.251] on May 08, 2008 08:55 PM
I did the upgrade route for two systems and the upgrades fairly screamed once I realized that the servers comprising us.archive.ubuntu.com and archive.ubuntu.com were completely swamped and tweaked /etc/hosts to have us.archive.ubuntu.com point to a server in another country. As for a dual head configuration, that actually worked better on 8.04 than on 7.10, but I had already seeded the xorg.conf with Option "Monitor-XXXX" "XXXX" lines and put in a set of canned mode lines for a monitor that fails to return mode information. Unfortunately X still insists on placing the xinerama hint for :0.0 on crtc0 which is the attached monitor instead of the laptop display. But this is an xrandr shortcoming and not an ubuntu shortcoming.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 87.127.117.246] on May 08, 2008 08:56 PM
in 8.04 there is another option. if you ask the installer to install onto a partion that already has an install on it, then it deletes the system folders, but leaves the home folders intact (as long as you dont select to format that partiton). I have used this on 2 machines and it works fine.

Ubuntu can do upgrades fine. however if you have made lots of tweaks, and installed lots of things outside the package manager, then you may get problems. the update manager tool, makes various check to help everything go smoothly.

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 124.197.11.113] on May 08, 2008 10:15 PM
I used this also. It works fine, and it appears that not many people are aware of this option.

It's non-obvious that this is possible before you begin the installer, but as you mention, just don't tick the option to format the partition you are installing on.

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Upgrade works correctly

Posted by: TK on May 08, 2008 09:28 PM
I've tried upgrading for a few years before Ubuntu came about, and all prior upgrades always broke something. When I finally got a new laptop and began fishing around for a distro, I vaguely remember reading something about Ubuntu and its ability to upgrade cleanly. Since then, this will be my third upgrade from the Update Manager (I do use a separate partition for /home, though) and it's never presented an issue ... even having used Automatix a long time ago!

Good stuff, Joe!

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Re: Upgrade works correctly

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 209.191.156.130] on May 08, 2008 10:20 PM
I am a little new with this system, but how could I go about doing a clean install & still find all the drivers that my hardware requires ? I have tried to do clean install with Win & almost all the time the thing messes up & I have to try to find the drivers thru the Win disk, it's such a pain.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 91.84.13.8] on May 08, 2008 10:33 PM
My experience with Ubuntu upgrades has been universally positive, although I have yet to upgrade to hardy. My laptop has been upgraded all the way from Warty (initially by dist-upgrading and latterly with the graphical manager). My desktop has been upgraded from dapper. I'm a little wary about the upgrade to 8.04 because I have been playing with non-standard KDE4 repos. A clean install would be a nightmare, given that "dpkg-query -W | wc -l" lists 3105 packages!

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 205.159.86.10] on May 08, 2008 10:43 PM
I upgraded from 7.10 to 8.04LTS. I encounter only two problems. One of the Ubuntu servers was down and the update manager was hanged, but it resumed quickly once I killed the background wget process. The other big problem was caused by ATI binary driver in combination with Compiz. After I login the first time I had a 'white screen of death'. It took me some time to figure out how to save my install, but I am newbie in Linux. Personally I don't hold this against Ubuntu, but I think this is ATI problem. I guess this is my last ATI card unless they open their driver. Personally I am Windows System Administrator and my experience with Windows is to do clean install every time. I was quite surprised that my Ubuntu upgrade worked. Now Ubuntu is my primary OS on my home desktop. Sorry Steve Ballmer, I am not going to buy Vista, not even going to 'pirated' it. MS need to pay me to use it!

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.156.88.143] on May 08, 2008 11:18 PM
On my Xubuntu PII I have only done updates, which always take hours. Worst part of the entire process. I leave it in the evening and go to bed. But it has been stable since 5.10. On the other desktop, a Kubuntu box, I have had to do clean installs because for some reason the MoBo and hald have some problems and upgrades seem to make things worse, so clean installs only. Fortunately I partitioned /home to be on its own. The Kubuntu is a P5 with lots of memory and a couple of HDDs and a W2k partition. So it seems to depend on the box in question.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 200.122.15.174] on May 09, 2008 12:28 AM
Just one point about upgrade taking a loooong time. I downloaded the alternate version which was very fast. This enabled me to make an upgrade from the CD, which was very fast too. Those having to upgrade several machines could be interested in using this procedure. I had no problem at all. Regards

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.97.120.230] on May 09, 2008 12:28 AM
My Xubuntu upgrade failed. It left me with the gray screen after the login screen. I didn't have time to debug it though. I backed everything up before. So I did a clean install afterwards. I will try again when the servers are less busy to debug it.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 206.47.165.5] on May 09, 2008 12:40 AM
Best option I've used yet: download the latest DVD via bittorrent -- it will come down pretty fast because lots of people are downloading it now.
Then use the DVD as your repository, commenting out the online repositories. Everything will install pretty fast because the files are all local.

This hybrid type approach works great! You save time because you don't have to wait for the packages to come down from the repositories (which are loaded with traffic right now); you don't have to install and set up your applications and desktop tweaks all over again; and you save bandwidth for Ubuntu/ Canonical (and other people who might need to use the repositories), which is a nice thing to do since they are providing something great for free.

I just did this with my work PC going from Gutsy to Hardy and it worked great. I did have to run through the x.org reconfigure routine but after that, I was back in action with a shiny new upgrade.

Mike

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 65.190.29.82] on May 09, 2008 04:45 AM
"Best option I've used yet: download the latest DVD via bittorrent"

Exactly! I did that, but with the ALT CD. I burned it twice to update multiple machines at the same time. Everything went flawlessly.

I've now paid back the download of the CD like 10 times over.

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Upgrade Works, but Prefer Clean Install.

Posted by: daengbo on May 09, 2008 01:41 AM
The upgrade works well and was tested on operating systems spanning two years. It's the most tested upgrade process Ubuntu has ever had.

Because of obsolete packages and changes in default applications, though, I always prefer to do a clean install. I've got backups and a separate /home on all my computers so it's no big deal. I tend to use a Grub-based network install with just the kernel and initrd from the new release. I've recently added a script to my home directory where I keep all the configuration changes and application installations I need. Run the install (an hour with download) and run the script (another twenty minutes) and I'm ready ro go with a clean machine.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.39.91.112] on May 09, 2008 02:14 AM
Upgrades since the beginning of Ubuntu. Clean installs are for newbies obviously.

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 12.26.249.143] on May 09, 2008 02:51 AM
I don't agree. I know how to upgrade and I've done it before, but I prefer to do a clean install because as the name implies, it's clean. I like to start out with a clean slate, shall we say.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.131.197.107] on May 09, 2008 02:24 AM
I upgraded my 6.04 system to 6.10 to 7.04 to 7.10 beta. Each upgrade worked perfectly and without issue. That would put me firmly in the "upgrade" camp. Until... two weeks ago, my hard drive died. I popped in a new hard drive and did a clean install from the 8.04 CD.

There were several significant differences between the "feel" of the upgraded version vs. the clean install. I do not blame Canonical for this though.. Across the last four versions I had played with Beryl and Compiz, hacked together bluetooth support for my wireless keyboard and mouse, installed the Nvidia Binary driver from source, and setup my broadcom Nic with Ndiswrapper. In Hardy Haron all of these things "just worked". They could not "just work" before because my hacks were in the way.

My suggestion, copy your home directory off to a remote hard drive, usb stick, or somesuch*. Then perform a clean install and copy it back. If your experience matches mine you will be blown away.

* I rsync my home directory off to another box with ssh as one of those set-and-forget backup solutions. Ergo I was able to pull it back post HDD failure and it worked perfectly. It kept all my emails and firefox settings too. Linux Absofrickinlutely Rocks.

-ellie

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 99.238.198.5] on May 09, 2008 02:45 AM
Upgraded feisty->gutsy->hardy(testing)-> to hardy on my laptop. Only obvious artifacts are a boot process that very occasionally hangs and multiple applications that do the same things (e.g. cd burning) due to the supported apps changing with each release. Saying that I think the next release will have to be a clean install

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 66.177.147.145] on May 09, 2008 02:52 AM
I took the upgrade route for the first time in a while; took roughly 1.5h for all the files to pull down, and the only question it asked me was whether I wanted to keep my ntp.conf file. No need to re-tweak sources.list, pull down/install all those other non-distro apps, etc. I did fresh installs going to 6.x and 7.x, going the upgrade route Just Worked for me.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 206.248.171.113] on May 09, 2008 03:34 AM
for those who have multiple computers to upgrade and have a "server" computer around, install and set up "apt-proxy" on it. You will download the packages only once and redistribute them (on demand) to other boxes on the network. You gain immense speed, save bandwidth, and avoid saturating the ubuntu servers/mirrors.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 10.1.227.118] on May 09, 2008 08:08 AM
My xorg.conf (dual-head) was overwritten by the upgrade (7.10 to 8.04).
(Normally it should be renamed to something like xorg.conf.1).
TAKE A BACKUP!

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.23.7.34] on May 09, 2008 11:10 AM
I did an upgrade from Kubuntu 7.10 to 8.04 using the Adept Manager with no problems at all. Granted half my hardware doesn't work now, but that's an 8.04 problem that I would have had with a clean install also.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.25.201.66] on May 09, 2008 11:28 AM
I dropped ubuntu (for debian)

I installed fiesty... tried to upgrade do gutsy... and got display troubles (heh, im using a legacy nvidia, maybe not a top graphic... but a WELL supported with prop drivers).
After the upgrade to gutsy... 4 days with the 3d gone until they fixed things (i didnt work even compiling/installing the driver from nvidia...)
I upgraded to hardy... and again same troubles.
And the troubles were not in the driver as in the kernel and headers ubuntu provides. So it's ubuntu to blame. In not just one but twice (and in my case every) update experiences.

I don't need 6 months upgrades.... i just need my comp to work every day.

They really DON'T do a good job with upgrades, and it's a shame, i really like the user-oriented drive they take. But i cannot stand this lack of stability.

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.245.112.182] on May 12, 2008 08:39 PM
Same story for me : every update breaks my restricted video drivers setup. I wonder if other distributions mess it up that bad as well.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Non-destructive "clean install"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.129.121.62] on May 09, 2008 12:00 PM
If you want to be able to back out from the install, you ought to install onto a separate partition. (Hey, disk is cheap now). I think it would be great if this process could be made smoother, by automatically installing the set of packages in the old install.
If you like this idea, please vote at <a href="http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/7972/">Brainstorm idea 7972.</a>

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Non-destructive "clean install"

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 129.240.235.122] on May 09, 2008 03:16 PM
This approach of doing a clean install into a different partition is exactly what I've done when upgrading in the past, mostly because I can then attempt to go back to the old distribution version if the new one isn't as stable as I would like: a reasonable concern given what I saw of Breezy and Edgy. What I've also done is to install later versions in virtual machines (User Mode Linux) in order to evaluate them before installing them. This should be a built-in feature of Ubuntu, since it doesn't really require much more than a combination of the existing Debian-derived tools.

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Non-destructive

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.183.220.101] on May 10, 2008 08:10 PM
This is exactly what I did -- gparted is a very easy tool to use to resize partitions.

When I was installing The installer found my user account on the other partition and offered to migrate my email, bookmarks etc. When I was done, I just moved over my ssh keys & I was done.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 87.201.164.122] on May 09, 2008 12:47 PM
i've been happily running ubuntu for some time and it has survived a couple of upgrades, but the last one to 8.04 didn't work. it broke my machine completely.

at the end, i had to install 7.10 in another disk and then copy the data from the old disk.

I think 8.04 has some quality issues since it broke many things that were working before, of main importance was the wireless connectivity.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.52.195.90] on May 09, 2008 01:16 PM
Upgrading since 5.10. Always some issues (I don't mind really most of the time)...
This time all my PATA drives were described and detected as SATA - no home partition was detected thanks to this. Easily fixable in fstab.

No worries.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 63.118.233.100] on May 09, 2008 02:51 PM
I have poor connections speeds so I upgraded using an alternative CD I got at work. It took about 4 hour’s total. Installing clean, getting additional packages, and reconfiguring the new system would have taken me days. Upgrading is the way to go. It sounds like most of your trouble was due to the servers getting slammed. I waited a few days and even on my slow connection the upgrade with alternative CD didn't take that long.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.145.180.221] on May 09, 2008 04:40 PM
I tend to agree with the above poster: the servers getting slammed is usually the problem.

That said, I've never had an Ubuntu upgrade go right. Because it's always taken so long (b/c the servers are clogged), that's about 24 hours in which:

a) no one in family should touch the laptop we share
b) the temptation gets too much
c) somebody does something and it all goes south

The upgrade process might work ok. I wouldn't know--my upgrades always go south because either I get impatient and stupid or somebody else in family does.

So I've put off going to Hardy till the craziness dies down.

That and it gives me an excuse to try out some other distros.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 205.158.69.130] on May 09, 2008 06:11 PM
I have been upgading since 7.04 and have always had some issues (more with 7.10 than 8.04), but they were all fixed in a few hours tops. I have a Dell 6400 (e1505) laptop and two things had to fixed after upgrading to 8.04. XGL got dropped so I had to change up my xorg.conf config (ENVY made this unbelievably easy). The next was my wireless. It worked, but the status light on my laptop didn't work. I got that fixed after enabling the hardy backports. Bug report here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/linux/+bug/176090. This upgrade was much easier than Gutsy, plus I noticed things like tracker now work.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 124.184.20.252] on May 11, 2008 05:42 AM
Well I started with 7.04 Feisty on one computer which then subsequently was upgraded to Gutsy and X broke as it did with ATI issues. But since then we have added two more machines, one a desktop which was running Gutsy from fresh install and a new laptop with Vista on it.

Now the first night the servers were up like everyone I couldn't wait and did the online upgrade, but the Aussie servers were just ammmmm MIA, so I used the main server. It did take a while but the NVidia based machine seems to be working just fine with the exception of the occasional crash of FF3 but from what I can determine it may well be the NVidia drivers.

I then downloaded the iso file from my ISP and used this to upgrade the ATI machine and was fearing the worst with an X crash. But everything is working fine on this machine as well. In fact Compiz works better on Hardy than it ever did with Gutsy.

The laptop was a nervous one as I had never installed Ubuntu on a Vista machine and being only a couple of days old I was ammmm anxious. Anyway how silly I was, I thought I would try Wubi and it worked well but I had not tried the wifi drivers. So feeling pretty safe did a fresh install and now laptop working fine. I did have to tinker with the wifi driver being Atheros but all is working well.

I tend to think that a lot of people are thinking we have V5 still and that it breaks all too easily, my experience is that it works equally easy either way. Its just a matter of backing up your data either way. Every version of any OS will have some issues and thats just a human factor. As to time well either way takes time, a fresh install still requires packages to be reinstalled and settings to be tweaked, likewise the upgrade takes time but I find generally less work.

Everyone is different and if we all agreed would be using and doing the same thing, what a boring world


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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 98.163.207.91] on May 11, 2008 06:52 PM
I'd have to say a clean install...

I tried on many ocasions to run the upgrade, and finally got it to work. I am not really sure why it did not work, but I can speculate it had something to do with busy servers...The download was not consistent. I ended up downloading the CD and adding it as a repository. This saved about 500 megs of download, but it still need another 300-400 megs of stuff. I set it to download overnight one evening. It only took the upgrade about 20 minutes after the download was finished.

Maybe my internet connection stinks or I have just had bad luck upgrading...who knows? It's done now. Hopefully, I won't have to mess with this again for another 6 months.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 85.25.138.222] on May 12, 2008 10:13 AM
Clean install.. definitely<a href="http://fertum.axspace.com/mp.html" style="text-decoration: none">.</a> But than again, it had been quite a while since a clean install.. maybe all the way back to Feisty. Anyway.. I had a lot of 3rd party stuff installed.. and I didn't want any headache.

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A closing note...

Posted by: Joe Barr on May 12, 2008 02:41 PM
My wife has been running Ubuntu 7.10 on her Linux-Certified laptop for several months. I happened to use her laptop over the weekend, and noticed that it was now running 8.04. I asked her when she had upgraded, and she said "Well, you told me to keep up with security updates, so when I saw the upgrade notice last weekend, I chose it."

Glad my story on the process didn't scare her off. :)

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 148.134.37.1] on May 12, 2008 04:20 PM
I used the upgrade path to get to 7.10 and it worked well. I attempted the same to get to 8.04 and things went very wrong; I wound up doing a new install.

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Re: Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.39.162.149] on May 12, 2008 06:29 PM
SilverWave
I usually clean install - but this this time tried clean install but left my /home partition.
This is the best of both worlds - it cleans out all of the crud I have installed and its fast.
You still get all of your stuff setup as you like it, there were some blanks on my Gnome panels, but I just reinstall the missing apps as I need to use them.
If the old config for an app seems to cause problems I use the package manager to mark for complete removal then reinstall.
One thing to note is that using grsync and backing up /home and /etc could save you a lot of grief :)

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.39.172.220] on May 12, 2008 11:57 PM
In the past I have used the 'brute force' method, but this time I figured I would try the 'upgrade' option first. I downloaded the ISO files for both the 64 and 32 bit versions. burned them to CD then used the 64 bit version to upgrade from 7.10 to 8.04 Ubuntu. I used the 32 bit version to upgrade two other machines from 7.04 Xubuntu to 8.04. No problems encountered with the 64 bit upgrade; one small problem with a wireless card configuration on the 32 bit machines; however, a fix to the wireless card problem had already been posted in Ubuntu Networking and Wireless Forum. Other than that, I would say it went smooth as silk.


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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 91.86.27.140] on May 15, 2008 01:51 PM
i performed an upgrade (from 7.04 to 8.04). 7.04 was my first ubuntu distro i ever used.
incredible! i never experienced such a smooth and painless upgrade. the upgrade took 2-3 hours, but that's fine. in the meantime i was busy. the result of the upgrade is quite amazing. same desktop, same preferences, same programs, same everything and i have the latest stable amarok now. some tiny issues needed to be fixed and i see that nautilius experiences some problems displaying a background image/tile. nevertheless, it's a big WOW!

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.10.62.238] on May 20, 2008 01:33 AM
I upgraded two Dell machines - one was a desktop and the upgrade took several hours, 7.10 to 8.04. The sound did not work immediately after the install, but I was able to correct it. The second was Dell Inspiron 5100 laptop from 7.10 to 8.04 using the update manager. The upgrade itself seemed to go smoothly, however upon reboot, the system would just hang on the Ubuntu splash screen. I was able to reboot into a previous instance of the kernel, but this made the network experience latency.

Previous upgrades have gone smoothly with the exception of the upgrade wiping out sound and video drivers.

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 219.93.228.66] on May 29, 2008 05:58 AM
For a newbie like me...installing UBUNTO onto my machine running XP and having NOT to partition the harddisk...I find it very relaxing and trouble free. Everything when well as it should and I update the patches using the update manager. Since I'm very new to UNIX/LINUX, the GUI in UBUNTU is easier and makes the transition from Windows environment a pleasant experience. Now, what about those UNIX commands...huhu

Ahmad, Malaysia

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Ubuntu 8.04: Upgrade or clean install?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.84.48.147] on June 01, 2008 04:59 PM
Not only was the upgrade from Gutsy to Heron short and sweet - just under an hour from 4-5 AM - it required no tweaking whatsoever, and fixed an irritating sound problem. I'm a cut-n-paste code-lemur, so I was slightly intimidated by the carping of my betters, but I took a chance and it worked.

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