Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Upgrading to Ubuntu Intrepid

I'm finally getting around to updating my Linux machines to Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex). It's not a complicated process, but I wanted to catalog all the steps, for future reference:

  1. Back up anything on your machine you can't bear to lose. Don't assume that the upgrade will go painlessly, and none of your data will be lost. There is a technical name for people who believe that they don't need to back up data before updates: Fool.
  2. OTOH, you don't need to back up your /usr, /bin, /etc, /lib etc. directories, unless you've tweaked them, because even if you hose your installation, when you install a new distribution you'll get all of that back.
  3. Run sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get upgrade from the command line to be sure everything is up to date on your current system.
  4. Since we're upgrading from Ubuntu 8.04, which has long term support, we need to explicitly tell the system that we want an update to a non-LTS release. Go to System ⇒ Administration ⇒ Software Sources, click on Update, and change the Release upgrade selection from Long term support releases only to Normal Releases.
  5. Kill any processes you've got running in your own space: browser, mail client, emacs, etc.
  6. Go to System ⇒ Administration ⇒ Update Manager. At the top of the window will be a button saying Upgrade. Ignore the Partial update warning messages.
  7. Hit it.
  8. The upgrade process takes some time. You need to check back once in a while, because there will be the occasional question to answer.
  9. It took about 45 minutes via FIOS to download all of the update software.
  10. Took about 5 hours to do all the updates on Hal. Probably way too much software installed. Next update I think I'll start from the CD and only install the software I really want.
  11. It took another 30 minutes or so to remove old packages.
  12. Glad I took the day off.
  13. At the end, you'll probably get a message to the effect that some of your software couldn't be updated. This is third party Unfree software, such as Acrobat, RealPlayer, GoogleEarth, etc. If you're running a truly Free system you probably won't see this message. If you're running Free, though, you're probably running Debian, so you're not reading this. To update your Unfree software, go back to Software Sources, click Third-Party Software and change any lines that say hardy to intrepid. Click the repositories you want to enable (medibuntu for sure, canonical possibly).
  14. Go back to the Update Manager and update your software. There will be updates, probably even if you aren't using the third-party software repositories. When that's done, before quiting, click Check, then update again if necessary. Repeat until your system is truly up-to-date.
  15. Rebuild any software that depends on obsolete libraries. For example, SoX, which I like to build from source to do proper conversions to MP3 format as well as away from MP3 format. This is a good time to get the latest version of these codes.