[GLLUG] Upgrading Ubuntu and Debian releases

Jan Henkins jan at henkins.za.net
Wed Jan 3 21:12:02 UTC 2018

Hi John,

On 24/11/17 19:31, John Edwards wrote:

> I think the presence of packages from third party repositories would
> be the main reason that an upgrade would fail on Debian or Ubuntu.

Yes, this is exactly right. In my case I enable the KXStudio repository, 
which enables me to install extra updated multimedia software on my 
Ubuntu Studio desktop. This automatically ensures that my desktop is 
non-upgradable due to the nature of this particular repo. This is not a 
major issue for me, since I only tend to install Ubuntu LTS. That gives 
me 2 years of use before I have to re-install, which I find acceptable.

> Ubuntu has the 'do-release-upgrade' tool which I've used to upgrade
> lots of Ubuntu LTS machines (mainly servers also) for about 7 years.
> The only time we have been forced to do a reinstall for OS reasons is
> to convert a system from 32-bit to 64-bit (never found a easy way to
> do that).

Yes, indeed. I've been using this tool to upgrade my home server for 
about the same time as you, although I don't wait for LTS versions to 
appear. I upgrade to the next normal version a few months after it has 
been released, which ensures that I have relatively up to date tools for 
virtualisation and other things.

> Debian/Ubuntu package upgrade should prompt to upgrade package config
> files, and leave a .dpkg-new or .dpkg-old (depending on your answer)
> in case you change your mind or need to import previous changes.

This is normally moot for me since I do backups of all my server config 
files (on my desktop I don't really care, since the few configs are 
safely ensconced in my home folder backups). Suffice to say that I only 
trust dpkg "so far" when it comes to critical configuration files.

> The 'deborphan' tool can spot some unrequired packages, as can
> 'apt-get autoremove'. The Debian 'cruft' tool looks for non-package
> files, but I've not run it in a long time.

I've only had to use deborphan once in the past 10 or so years, when I 
had to debug a Debian update that went a bit wobbly. I use "apt 
autoremove" routinely.


Jan Henkins

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