Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

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Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby teaumaz on Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:54 am

I was wondering whether the update functionality in Linux Mint will allow me to update to the next version (so no need to back-up everything, download ISO and re-install), or does it function more like Windows Update in that it only provides security updates to software?
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby Husse on Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:27 am

mintUpdate will not upgrade to the next version.
A tool for that will be included in version 6 - I don't think it will be ready in time for Elyssa
As it is a LTS a fresh install could be useful - and if you have home on a separate partition, which is recommended, no extra backup is needed
http://www.linuxmint.com/wiki/index.php ... _partition
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby det4100 on Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:09 pm

This is an interesting question. I have been happily using and learning the ins and outs of Mint and Linux in general, that I never thought of this. If my home directory is on a separate partition, then I can upgrade without losing my data. What about all the programs I added since installing Daryna? And their config files? What about my Samba settings, networked printers etc. Will I have to reinstall and reconfigure them? Set up Email accounts, news groups, Firefox plugins etc? I have separate partitions for boot, root, and usr/local. How will upgrading affect these partitions? Will I have to manually configure them again? A lot to think about I guess, before choosing to upgrade to a newer release.

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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby miltonjohn on Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:05 am

@Husse

will there be an guide to upgrade to elyssia? by console...??
i dont want to reinstall, also i did a seperate home.
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby Husse on Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:00 am

If you have your mail profile in home that together with lots of settings are kept
I just reinstalled when Daryna came out and was immediately ready to go did not do anything about may mail and lots of other settings
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby miket on Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:33 am

Hi Husse !

Could one not just alter the entries in the /etc/apt/sources.list file to point to the newer version of Mint and then
perform as root an apt-get update ; apt-get dist-upgrade ??

This is how I have been moving through the versions on my Debian Server systems for years without any problems at all :)

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Husse wrote:If you have your mail profile in home that together with lots of settings are kept
I just reinstalled when Daryna came out and was immediately ready to go did not do anything about may mail and lots of other settings
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby sundayrefugee on Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:48 am

AvanceIT wrote:Hi Husse !

Could one not just alter the entries in the /etc/apt/sources.list file to point to the newer version of Mint and then
perform as root an apt-get update ; apt-get dist-upgrade ??

This is how I have been moving through the versions on my Debian Server systems for years without any problems at all :)

Mike.
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Husse wrote:If you have your mail profile in home that together with lots of settings are kept
I just reinstalled when Daryna came out and was immediately ready to go did not do anything about may mail and lots of other settings


That should work in theory, but rarely (*almost* never) works in practice. Debian is *specifically* made to work exactly like that. It's called a "rolling release". Mint just isn't. In fact, most distros aren't. Some users come close, and get by by perpetually using whatever the "testing" repo is called (rawhide, cooker, devel, whathaveyou) but tend to have *much* more trouble than the average user.

Doing what you describe with Mint isn't any more likely to succeed than installing Mint, then RPM, apt-rpm, alien, changing sources.list to Fedora 9 and running dist-upgrade ;-)
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby miket on Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:34 am

Hi sundayrefugee,

Thanks for the reply ... I'm really enjoying some of the discussion on this forum.

It's a shame Mint doesn't use the same approach as Debian to upgrades, especially as at the heart of Mint one will Debian :)

In a commercial environment not having a true upgrade path isn't good.
Having to reinstall not only the O/S but all the users applications on top of the O/S will entail higher upgrade costs which many clients won't be happy about.
On top of this there is the risk that the client data may get overwritten by the newly installed O/S, especially if the client hasn't kept all their data in their home directory,
which will require a backup and recover on top of the already elongated process.

Moving away from the upgrade functionality that is already present in the Debian system, in my mind, wasn't a good move and will surely come back to haunt Mint as it gets
established in the commercial market place.

The customers that I have already moved over to the Linux Mint platform are extremely impressed and pleased with it's performance, reliability (apart from a few wifi problems!!)
and the fact that they no longer have to spend a fortune on virus protection, internet security and office suite licences, however they aren't going to be happy when it comes to upgrade time !!

I think the upgrade process is something that will have to be addressed sooner rather than later if Mint is to succeed in the commercial environment and companies like
my own are going to put the time and effort into getting Linux Mint into what is already a very competitive market place.

Just my two penneth worth ;)

EDIT: I forgot to mention that at present I am finding the competition to Linux Mint to be Apple OS X, many of my customers are looking to move away from
windows to a new platform, however OS X is going to win on the upgrade path no matter how hard I try to convince them that Linux Mint is a good move :!:

Mike.
http://www.avanceit.co.uk

Ps: What are the rules on quoting ? Top or bottom ??

sundayrefugee wrote:That should work in theory, but rarely (*almost* never) works in practice. Debian is *specifically* made to work exactly like that. It's called a "rolling release". Mint just isn't. In fact, most distros aren't. Some users come close, and get by by perpetually using whatever the "testing" repo is called (rawhide, cooker, devel, whathaveyou) but tend to have *much* more trouble than the average user.

Doing what you describe with Mint isn't any more likely to succeed than installing Mint, then RPM, apt-rpm, alien, changing sources.list to Fedora 9 and running dist-upgrade ;-)
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby sundayrefugee on Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:11 am

LOL I think the quoting rules are whatever you want them to be :lol:

On Mint and Debian - it's a strange relationship. I'm not *entirely* clear myself. However, it traces through Ubuntu, which uses Debian in a strange way. Their solution to providing current packages vs. stable environment is to take a "snapshot" of Debian Testing+Unstable+Experimental every 6 months, and then *heavily* modify and bugfix it. So, by it's very nature, Ubuntu ceases to become a rolling release distro, even though it's mother meta is Debian.

To get around the problem of user upgrades by re-installs, (well, it's rather complicated, but here's a sort of simplified analogy), upon a new release, they release a meta-package that more-or-less deletes the old OS, preserves user settings, and installs the new one. It's not anywhere near as clean as it sounds, but it *usually* works, more or less.

Mint is based on Ubuntu. I read some accounts that it forked at around v.6.06.01, however I cannot find any signifigant skeletal differences between 4.0 and Gutsy, even using -lsb. The actual differences, outside of artwork, tools, and some refinement and bugfixing of Gutsy remain entirely unclear to me, but I must say that I run into almost *none* of the bugs in 4.0 that I can, to this day, easily reproduce in Gutsy.

To your statements on corporate and client distros, I must respectfully disagree. *The* top names in the business, Red Hat, SuSE, Sun, Oracle, etc.. *none* are rolling release - they are all "wipe-and-reinstall" distros, effectively. There aren't clean rolling upgrade paths for any of them. It's the industry norm. It may turn off individual users, or users already used to Debian, but any *nix-experienced IT manager will already be well-versed in the routine.

Mind you, I'm not necessarily saying it's *better*. In many cases, it is, but in many cases, it's not. I'm just saying it's the industry norm at this time ;)

Edit to add: Oh, and I doubt you'll ever get Mac addicts off of their Macs, no matter what you try. If I had the sustainable income to own one properly, you likely couldn't pry it out of my cold, dead fingers either :lol:
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby miket on Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:47 am

Hello again !

It's great to have an open and honest conversation like this, it's really refreshing, so don't worry about offending, it's all for the good of Linux Mint in the long run!

I've come from a corporate level sys-admin background, Sun/HPUX/AIX/Linux etc, so I fully understand and appreciate your comments and of course agree with you too!

After in excess of 25 years in the corporate game I found myself getting tired of it all and decided to have a go at the small to medium sized business market place.
I have been amazed at how much some small companies are paying for support and the actual level of support they have been getting, in some cases it's been terrible.

My aim is to bring what I know as the "Corporate" level of "IT Support" to the small business community but at small business prices, and I have to say it has been very well received too!

Anyways, all that was slightly off topic, for which I apologise!
So back on subject, I agree that the Mint/Debian relationship is indeed a strange one and I too have wondered why it is so ... would it not have been simpler to
build Mint directly off of a stable working Debian build ?

Anyways, that decision has been made many moons ago so lets not dwell on it ....

I agree that there are many benefits to be had from using a complete fresh reinstall process for upgrading, especially in the corporate world where the usage of
the systems is carefully managed with upgrade in mind, but no matter how hard I try to inform my clients that it's best to keep all their data in a particular
area of the system, they still go creating directories in places that make me cringe, I think it is a throwback from their windows days ;)

Since Linux Mint is aimed at the Desktop rather than the backend server side of things I still think that is should support an upgrade process rather than
a complete reinstall process just like any other Desktop solution does today, OS X is a *NIX based system and it's upgrade process works extremely well,
wouldn't it be great if Linux Mint could boast the same functionality too ... it would certainly put it head and shoulders above some of the competition.

As for Macs, well I have to confess I am using one right now to type this ... I've been a mac fan for more years than I am going to admit to !
My 10 year old Clamshell iBook is still going great, and of course has been running Debian Linux for many years ... however all my servers are Debian based ...
(I wonder if "Servers" is an area Mint will eventually move into as well ?)

I've been tinkering with Linux ever since it was just a small O/S booted from a "Boot" and "Root" floppy disk based system ... ah those were the days :lol:

Right, time to go do some work :)

Mike.
http://www.avanceit.co.uk

sundayrefugee wrote:LOL I think the quoting rules are whatever you want them to be :lol:

On Mint and Debian - it's a strange relationship. I'm not *entirely* clear myself. However, it traces through Ubuntu, which uses Debian in a strange way. Their solution to providing current packages vs. stable environment is to take a "snapshot" of Debian Testing+Unstable+Experimental every 6 months, and then *heavily* modify and bugfix it. So, by it's very nature, Ubuntu ceases to become a rolling release distro, even though it's mother meta is Debian.

To get around the problem of user upgrades by re-installs, (well, it's rather complicated, but here's a sort of simplified analogy), upon a new release, they release a meta-package that more-or-less deletes the old OS, preserves user settings, and installs the new one. It's not anywhere near as clean as it sounds, but it *usually* works, more or less.

Mint is based on Ubuntu. I read some accounts that it forked at around v.6.06.01, however I cannot find any signifigant skeletal differences between 4.0 and Gutsy, even using -lsb. The actual differences, outside of artwork, tools, and some refinement and bugfixing of Gutsy remain entirely unclear to me, but I must say that I run into almost *none* of the bugs in 4.0 that I can, to this day, easily reproduce in Gutsy.

To your statements on corporate and client distros, I must respectfully disagree. *The* top names in the business, Red Hat, SuSE, Sun, Oracle, etc.. *none* are rolling release - they are all "wipe-and-reinstall" distros, effectively. There aren't clean rolling upgrade paths for any of them. It's the industry norm. It may turn off individual users, or users already used to Debian, but any *nix-experienced IT manager will already be well-versed in the routine.

Mind you, I'm not necessarily saying it's *better*. In many cases, it is, but in many cases, it's not. I'm just saying it's the industry norm at this time ;)

Edit to add: Oh, and I doubt you'll ever get Mac addicts off of their Macs, no matter what you try. If I had the sustainable income to own one properly, you likely couldn't pry it out of my cold, dead fingers either :lol:
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby sundayrefugee on Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:12 am

Oy, let me apologize. I'm used to explaining these things to newer users who aren't well-versed in the IT side of things. I didn't realize I was conversing with someone who could school me on the subject at their leisure :lol: You've obviously forgotten more than I'll ever know about that aspect of Linux ;)

I can remember buying my first Linux, a Caldera book with a floppy inside :lol: I'm thinking we're showing our age :lol:

In the meantime, if you scroll down a bit, you'll see a side project basing Mint on Debian, in which you'll see your's truly enter in later ;) It was decided that support-wise it would be too much, at least at this time (and in any foreseeable future...), but a detailed public history of the discussion is available in the Debian CE thread ;)

In the meantime, enjoy that Mac ;)
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby miket on Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:33 am

This is addictive :)

sundayrefugee wrote:Oy, let me apologize. I'm used to explaining these things to newer users who aren't well-versed in the IT side of things. I didn't realize I was conversing with someone who could school me on the subject at their leisure :lol: You've obviously forgotten more than I'll ever know about that aspect of Linux ;)


No apology necessary, I am still learning believe me!
Yes I've forgotten a lot, some of it deliberately forgotten ... but it doesn't make me any better than anyone else ... I've come across "Newbies" to linux who are doing
things I never knew were possible, that is the great thing about UNIX, it's infinitely complex and thus infinitely flexible, it all comes down to ones imagination!

sundayrefugee wrote:I can remember buying my first Linux, a Caldera book with a floppy inside :lol: I'm thinking we're showing our age :lol:


Shhhh! They'll be starting an old timers section on the forum for us if you let that kind of info loose ;)

sundayrefugee wrote:In the meantime, if you scroll down a bit, you'll see a side project basing Mint on Debian, in which you'll see your's truly enter in later ;) It was decided that support-wise it would be too much, at least at this time (and in any foreseeable future...), but a detailed public history of the discussion is available in the Debian CE thread ;)
In the meantime, enjoy that Mac ;)


I'll take a look, thanks for the pointer ... and yes, I am enjoying my Macs ... all of them :)

Mike.
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby Husse on Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:53 am

This topic gets off topic :)
But that's ok
I'm a newbie in Linux - I actually started using it a few days after I joined this forum, but I've used computers - and Internet - heavily since 1996 (there were about 46000 internet users in Sweden at that time :)) We all have our individual way to where we are, and I'm a quick learner even if I'm 60+ of age :)
(See about us about me)
The problem with basing Mint on Debian is that it is rolling so fast you don't know what to base it on - see the topic Sundayrefugee refers to
Included in version 6 of Mint will be a upgrade tool (would be great to have it in Elyssa, but there is not time to make that happen). It will (I think) be a .mint file so the software portal will be used
The user chooses upgrade like any other application...
The main edition forked off Ubuntu with Barbara, based on Edgy. The KDE edition is actually based on Gutsy Kubuntu - this is not helping support at times, but it helped it being done faster.
The reason it came long after the main edition was that all Mint apps were ported to it and that proved difficult
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby teaumaz on Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:46 am

Husse wrote:mintUpdate will not upgrade to the next version.
A tool for that will be included in version 6 - I don't think it will be ready in time for Elyssa
As it is a LTS a fresh install could be useful - and if you have home on a separate partition, which is recommended, no extra backup is needed
http://www.linuxmint.com/wiki/index.php ... _partition


I was thinking about my problem (not having /home on a separate partition) and was wondering if this could do the trick:

I leave things the way they are now and, upon the release of the next Mint, copy my entire home folder to my external hard drive. After I complete a fresh install, I just copy the /home folder on my external HDD over my /folder of the new install.

Would this work? And what about hidden files? How can I make sure I copy everything to my external HDD and back to the new installation?
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby sundayrefugee on Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:44 pm

Well, a really easy, hassle-free solution would be to make sure the drive is formatted to fat32 to avoid permission issues.

Then, instead of just mass copying your entire /home folder over, just make some folders on the fat32 drive, such as documents, pictures, etc... Then just go into your home folders, click "select all", copy, and paste. Do this for each thing you'd like to save over. Don't save any .xxx settings unless you're *positive* you have something *just* how you want it and will want to overwrite Elyssa's default ;)

Then, upon fresh installation, just reverse copy'n'paste your stuff back.

No programs to install and run, no permissions or uuid's to worry about. Not elegant, but it works without a hitch ;)
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby miket on Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:00 pm

There's only one problem with this approach, if you don't also copy over all the .* directories you are at risk of loosing all your email and other such things like news-groups, mozilla favorites etc ...
(And if like me you use VirtualBox you will loose all your virtual machines!!)

If it were me I would use 'tar' to make a tar ball of the complete home dir and store that on another drive.
Just the thought of using FAT32 makes an old sys-admin cringe :)

As always, with unix there are many ways of doing the same thing !

Mike.
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sundayrefugee wrote:Well, a really easy, hassle-free solution would be to make sure the drive is formatted to fat32 to avoid permission issues.
Then, instead of just mass copying your entire /home folder over, just make some folders on the fat32 drive, such as documents, pictures, etc... Then just go into your home folders, click "select all", copy, and paste. Do this for each thing you'd like to save over. Don't save any .xxx settings unless you're *positive* you have something *just* how you want it and will want to overwrite Elyssa's default ;)
Then, upon fresh installation, just reverse copy'n'paste your stuff back.
No programs to install and run, no permissions or uuid's to worry about. Not elegant, but it works without a hitch ;)
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby sundayrefugee on Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:44 pm

Aye, good catch. I use webmail, so there's rarely anything outside of the "usual" folders I really need to save ;-) I was trying to come up with something "easy" for the newbie forum, but maybe there's a point, like this one, where it does more harm than good?

I can also understand why the word "fatx" makes an admin cringe (remember "edlin"? :lol:)

Good advice there. Just remember to first delete the .xxxxx directories you *don't* want to carry over ;-)
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby Husse on Sat Apr 12, 2008 5:06 pm

Just remember to first delete the .xxxxx directories you *don't* want to carry over

Well I'd move them to the desktop (possibly rename them) just in case there is something in them I'd miss
This would be the ones with gnome in their name and gconf + gconfd I guess - this is the newbie section, remember :)
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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby miket on Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:24 pm

Hi Husse !

Husse wrote: this is the newbie section, remember :)


Yes, I must apologise, I tend to forget that not everyone will understand what a tar-ball is ;)
It's a little "Old School" !
Ok, here are some simple instructions to complete the process :

Mount your external hard, if it's a USB device this is done by just plugging it in.
Open up a Terminal from the main Mint menu.

Now the fun bit, lets create the archive of your home directory and compress it on the fly, this is done using two applications, tar and compress.
If you haven't got compress installed on your system (I don't think it is part of the default install in mint), then just enter the following command to install it
before you start :

sudo apt-get install ncompress

Once this is done .... Change Directory into your Home Directory :

Type cd and hit enter/return

Next create the archive, type this command changing the External_Drive part for the name of your external hard drive ;

tar cvf - ./* | compress -c > /media/External_Drive/MyHomeDirectory.tar.Z

This will create a compressed archive of your home directory in the file named MyHomeDirectory.tar.Z on your external hard drive named External_Drive mounted under the /media directory.

To unarchive it you just need to use the reverse process, so again Change Directory into your home directory using the same cd command as above, then type the following in a terminal :

uncompress -c /media/External_Drive/MyHomeDirectory.tar.Z | tar xvf -

It's really that simple ...

You can of course unarchive the file into any other directory you choose if you don't want to just overwrite the new contents of your new home directory, just
use the 'cd' command to change directory into the appropriate directory and then issue the unarchive command above.

If you would like to know exactly what the commands are and how they are working just enter the following in a terminal :

For information on cd type; man cd
For information on tar type; man tar
For information on compress type; man compress
(Man is the built in Manual for all UNIX commands!)

I hope this makes sense !


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Re: Update function in Linux Mint for updating to next version?

Postby sundayrefugee on Sun Apr 13, 2008 2:42 am

Are the man commands actually functional in *buntu and variants?

@Husse - gotcha ;-)
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