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Thread: Why does Ubuntu have so much trouble upgrading smoothly?

  1. #1
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    Why does Ubuntu have so much trouble upgrading smoothly?

    Preface by saying I love Ubuntu. Every computer in my home that can be Ubuntu, is.

    We see it all the time. "Fresh install better than upgrade", "Tried upgrade and now system won't boot", or any of a million other things that have the same thing in common... An upgrade that usually failed somehow.

    Why is this? What makes Ubuntu so different from Debian, Fedora, CentOS / Red Hat that it is such a problem to upgrade? Why do their upgrades go smoothly 99% of the time but with Ubuntu you have better odds of winning the lottery than a successful upgrade?

    Is it PPAs?
    Is it simply less tested software?
    A less tested upgrade process?
    Can anything be done about this?

    I just have so much trouble with the idea of believing that Ubuntu is used by many major corporations and that they reinstall every time their is a new LTS on however many thousand servers they have instead of upgrading. It doesn't make any sense. And if they are upgrading smoothly... Why do their upgrades go so well and the average user fails miserably so often? What is different?

  2. #2
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    Re: Why does Ubuntu have so much trouble upgrading smoothly?

    Think the average user probably adds so much stuff to the system over time, that an upgrade has trouble. Most corporations probably have basically the same system at upgrade as when installed, plus some people who know what they are doing. Would be nice if there were any stats on problems with upgrade.

  3. #3
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    Re: Why does Ubuntu have so much trouble upgrading smoothly?

    Quote Originally Posted by crip720 View Post
    Think the average user probably adds so much stuff to the system over time, that an upgrade has trouble.
    Could have something to do with it moving older software packages tied to an older kernel and migrating over to a newer kernel.

    Seems I read that PPAs and any software packages related to the PPAs should be removed before attempting to do an upgrade.
    Last edited by poorguy; 3 Weeks Ago at 12:04 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Why does Ubuntu have so much trouble upgrading smoothly?

    Single version upgrades such as (18.04-18.10) have always worked well on my two computers, but I have not ever tried any LTS upgrades (16.04-18.04).
    If it weren't for testing or curiosity about new features I would stick to LTS releases and perform a clean installation when released. PPAs, though automatically disabled can cause problems due to dependencies included with the software that may conflict with official upgrades.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Why does Ubuntu have so much trouble upgrading smoothly?

    I came straight from 16.04 to 18.04 to 19.04 on this drive.
    I always PPA purge first, update and upgrade, then use "sed"
    Smooth as Cheesecake.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Why does Ubuntu have so much trouble upgrading smoothly?

    Comparing "home" or consumer users with "Corporate" or company users is faulty. For example, how many home users have the policies & practices corporations do such as ITL's (Integration Test Labs), ACL's (access control lists), etc, etc, etc. Also, they do not "change" the computing environment for the latest and greatest software (we used Office 97 for TEN years before upgrading) . . .
    Problem installing Ubuntu? . . Just get it "Preinstalled" (like you did for Windows!) . . http://linuxpreloaded.com/

  7. #7
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    Re: Why does Ubuntu have so much trouble upgrading smoothly?

    If you look around at some of the better known Windows forums, tenforums for example, you will find just as many threads about failed updates/upgrades.

    I think a lot depends on how much tinkering went on before the upgrade; adding PPAs, customizing desktop environments, tweaking system settings etc.

    In general, I always recommend backing up data and then doing a clean install.

  8. #8
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    Kubuntu

    Re: Why does Ubuntu have so much trouble upgrading smoothly?

    My only issues come from PPA's that have not been updated as of yet.

    For example: Grub-Customizer PPA does have a Disco Dingo (19.04) version, but Ubuntu-Cleaner only has a Cosmic Cuttlefish (18.10) version (yet). So, Ubuntu-Cleaner does not get updated. And you'll get some errors from APT when trying to update or upgrade, because there is no current version of that particular PPA in the system.

    I normally just take out the non-updated PPA's and wait until they are updated. But there may be a better way to do it that I am not aware of.

    The system, however, updates just fine.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Why does Ubuntu have so much trouble upgrading smoothly?

    Unlike the OP, I won't make groundless claims about avarage users. Upgrades work very well for me, also, I don't see "all the time" ...all this stuff the OP very carelessly claims "we see".
    All in all, the topic is reminicent of the "Why do you beat your wife?" kind of question, the answer to witch is "I've never beaten my wife" followed by a few choice expletives.
    Last edited by mikewhatever; 2 Weeks Ago at 11:05 AM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Why does Ubuntu have so much trouble upgrading smoothly?

    Doesn't take much searching to find a large number of those threads. And yes "we see" them all the time. And they are almost always responded to by telling the OP of that thread they should have re-installed instead of upgraded. Maybe I am wrong to compare enterprise users to home users. Just makes the point though. If it works so well, what causes the threads to keep coming every release. For example, I've seen recently about an app called ppa-purge. And it makes sense, remove all external and everything should be fine. Why isn't that mentioned on any of the official docs?

    My own anecdotal experience tells me upgrades are a crap shoot. On my server out of 5 attempts, I've rolled back my lvm snapshots 4 times. The last time the upgrade worked but I had other issues that required me to revert to 16.04 to keep Kodi running correctly with MythTV. I've only attempted a couple desktop upgrades, both of which were successful. Even combined that is less than a 50% success rate though. That is terrifying. Multiply it out and it's a real problem.

    *EDIT* editing my post as it was out of line.

    I don't see how you can't see the regular and consistent threads people post about upgrades gone south. They are so common it's ridiculous. I almost avoid the section because the only constant in the whole forum is "should have done a fresh install". It's rare from my own reading that anyone has any solutions most of the time other than that. Is one of the reasons I left Windows. Got tired of the fresh install nonsense. It should be able to be fixed, not given up on and dumped every time.
    Last edited by Tadaen_Sylvermane; 3 Weeks Ago at 01:19 AM.

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