I stumbled across a message on the Ubuntu Devel mailing list this weekend which I found pretty disturbing. Here is the body of the message. This mail thread is commenting on a recent Slashdot article on the pain of upgrading from Dapper to Edgy. The thing that disturbed me was this comment:
Although it is very difficult to diagnose problems from blog and forum
posts (hence the analysis below is probably wrong, incomplete and
unhelpful) I think a large number of problems fall into the following
* Using apt-get dist-upgrade rather than upgrade-manager
- Could this be reduced by emphaising on the release notes, on
ubuntu.com and in the support channels, the correct way to upgrade?
- Could apt be patched to give clearer warnings that dist upgrading
could break your system, and recommend that the user run upgrade
manager instead. In fact, just run update-manager when the user tries
this, whilst siulanousy taking their pony away from them
The replies in the rest of the thread never refuted that using upgrade-manager (I assume he’s meaning update-manager) is the “right” way to upgrade. However, at least one person replied back and stated what I was thinking, namely that it’s absurd to officially discourage (or prevent!) Ubuntu users from upgrading their systems by `apt-get dist-upgrade`. I’m still digging around to see if update-manager is the official means of upgrading a system.
If some of the pain that I experienced is because of doing a dist-upgrade rather than update-manager, then someone needs to do a better job of making the community aware of how they should be upgrading their systems. I didn’t run Automatix or Easyubuntu. I didn’t have Beryl/Compiz installed and definitely didn’t have the Beryl repositories in sources.list. And I didn’t have any binary video drivers installed which I had downloaded from the vendor. These are some of the other factors contributing to a painful upgrade, so it must just be my use of “apt-get dist-upgrade”. This was a pretty vanilla install I was upgrading from. I would have expected it to go smoother.
If you are upgrading from Dapper to Edgy, beware. I’ve read way too many tales of pain and woe from the above referenced Slashdot article to discount possible problems with this upgrade. You may want to try running update-manager with a “-c” flag (checks if a new distribution release is available). Actually, first backup your data. Then update. Or just install from scratch.