So just before the first beta I finally updated my production machine to Hardy after feeling bad about not giving enough effort in testing for the last weeks. In one short sentence: It worked! In a longer sentence: It worked quite well, but…
If you plan to update your machine by calling “update-manager -d” on Gutsy or actually any other Ubuntu upgrade you might have a better time with the update by taking the following then steps before:
- Remove all applications you installed for testing purposes but don’t use them. It’s a nice feeling to have a mostly cleaned machine. Removing applications before an update reduces download time, the space needed and dependency calculations as well as the risk of a dependency failure. So just drop all those only once clicked applications, games and even libraries. Take some time for this, it will save you time later. Trust me.
- Check that you have enough space left on your device. Hundreds of packages are being downloaded in one step, therefore you should have enough disk space for this. Keep this in mind.
- Compiled software by your own? Installed external .deb-files? If possible: Uninstall them, you can later reinstall them if they are not provided by Ubuntu+1.
- Added software repositories to /etc/apt/sources.list (or Synaptec?). Disable them for now.
- Switched to a server close to you? For an update to an alpha or beta version it might be better to switch back to the main repository server as you are getting probably urgently needed updates faster (correct me if this is wrong).
- Of course: Back up, back up, back up. Decide, if a backup of your home directory fits your needs or you also want the rest of your partitions.
- Bring enough time: A full upgrade might take two hours and more, depending on your ram, cpu power, network speed and amount of installed applications. Don’t think an upgrade runs automatically – it will ask you several questions during package upgrades and therefore awaits your attention. Make the day your upgrade day or at least the afternoon your upgrade afternoon. A cup of tea might help.
- Check for already known caveats that you might take care of. Normally the most important ones are collected on the wiki page to the current alpha/beta release like this one.
- Make yourself clear what “alpha” an “beta” mean: Take them as warnings and only take the risk of an upgrade if you are not under time pressure for a project (like writing an essay, developing an application or anything with a deadline close to your upgrade day).
- Check if you have the possibility to have a second computer around enabling you for checking against discussion boards, wikis and other ressources of useful information. In case of an emergency it is crucial to be online in way because often really simple tricks can save your day.
After these steps, feel free to give “update-manager -d” a try. Take notes of things that look strange and check launchpad bug tracker if they are already reported. Now it is up to you to help making Ubuntu a better distribution and Hardy a really success.
p.s.: And if you want an example of things that *can* go wrong: After upgrade I noticed my wireless connection was down as the device was missing (no eth1 anymore). After searching the web I found out that the package “linux-ubuntu-modules-2.6.24-12-386″ was not installed though it should have been. An “aptitude install linux-ubuntu-modules-2.6.24-12-386″ over a wired connection solved the problem.