Upgrades are for people with a surfeit of time…

About a month ago I started reading Linux Hater. I have to admit I love it. It takes a few posts for the realisation to sink in that its actually written by someone who deeply cares about Linux, has a great deal of knowledge about the inner workings of a Linux distribution and actually wants it to succeed. He/She/They try to hide it beneath a barrage of bad language and breath-taking insults but its great to see someone voicing the anger which I’m sure some of us involved to any degree in Free Software all feel at times. A friend of mine who had a particularly awful experience with Linux recently (not Fedora thankfully, blame Lexmark) will no doubt enjoy it as much as I do. I think people who dismiss it immediately as insulting are missing the point. Linux Format magazine used to run a section (can’t remember the name) where an anonymous contributor voiced the fears and concerns that someone with a real name and face could not.

Anyway, I digress. I’ve read a lot of upgrade woes, relating to current distributions and their ability to complete and upgrade from a previous version. For anyone not understanding the process of upgrading an operating system I’ll say it once and only once.

It’s not simple, may well break and if you don’t feel confident doing it then don’t.

One reviewer even bemoaned the fact that a system once running FC5 didn’t handle the upgrade from F8 to F9 well. So here’s a clue to those who just want to use a computer and not struggle with post-upgrade installation issues.

Backup /home, /etc, & /var and do a fresh install. The time reconfiguring your O.S. will be greatly less than fixing broken dependencies, repositories, packages and other issues. You will then never need to post about how you don’t understand why a new distribution with new toolchain, kernel, package management system and desktop environment doesnt work out of the box.

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6 thoughts on “Upgrades are for people with a surfeit of time…

  1. “So here’s a clue to those who just want to use a computer and not struggle with post-upgrade installation issues. Backup /home, /etc, & /var and do a fresh install”

    But this is exactly the problem! We ( The General Fedora user) doesn’t know what we should do with those directories. “Blindly” overwriting the new /home, /etc, & /var with our old ones seams a bit cavalier!

    Lets say we’re bringing our backed up /home, /etc, & /var to a fresh install of Fedora 9: Why do you choose /home, /etc, & /var? Do we overwrite /home, /etc, & /var with are backups? Do we do a custom partitioning? Do we choose the default LVM? Will encrypting stop us from getting our old data? and on and on and on.

    Not to be brash, but a how-to as in: “This is how you do a fresh install of Fedora and migrate your old Fedora data” would be a lot more helpful than “So here’s a clue…”

    With Respect,
    Frank

  2. I didn’t say overwrite, just backup. You can then cherry-pick the stuff from the backup that you don’t have the time to re-configure. Or use it to jog your memory as to how the config’s worked.

    Though I take your point about the attitude. Blog posts often happen in the heat of the moment!

  3. I finally got around to reading the LinuxHaters blog after reading your post. Wow, I dunno about actually wanting it to succeed. It is humorous, especially to anyone who has been involved with Linux, and the foul language might be a cover for something, but definitely not a cover for the truth.

    I read every post, and I’m about ready to swtich back to Mac OS X. I just feel stupid for ever really thinking the pursuit of the Free Software/Open Source ideals was actually worthwhile.

  4. well – if it works…. just get your wallet out.

    Sorry Chris but I like the idea of ‘free’ but I like the idea of ‘it works’ better.

  5. A couple of days ago I saw a doco about Bill Gates. It was pretty well rounded, with extensive interviews with Bill and the people that dont like him or his business practice. From where I stand as a joe average computer user, I dont see everyones problem with microsoft. They created a good product that even my mother can use and put it on the market. Anyone is allowed to make software to run on windows so whats the problem. The whole idea that he created a monopoly seems ridiculous. How can you have a monopoly on code, an intangible item that anyone can create. On this doco some guy from lotus was moaning about how microsoft brockered deals whereby hardware dealers could only ship computers with windows at the exclusion of other programmes. Bad luck, the other guys didnt market thier product properly or it wasnt good enough. A lot of people seem to think that if it wasnt for microsoft then computers would be light years ahead of where they are at the moment. I would argue the opposite. Microsoft was the determining factor in getting a computer in every home. So is Linux better? Maybe, I honestly dont know. However it seems obvious to me that it is fighting the greatest force on the planet, market forces. The fact that it is free seems to be its downfall.
    So there you go Linux community. I invite you to vent ……….

  6. @Marland – posted you back on your blog dude

    @Clifton – Yeah I know. We’re working on it. As for getting the wallet out, show me your XP licenses and I’ll show you mine.

    @Rob – Wow. Nice call to arms. You know I love Linux but here is the essential reason and call me a hippie. I believe in the _collaborative_ development of software for the greater good. Software that can be made freely available to both rich and poor. People in the Third World don’t run Linux (though South America is getting to be a notable exception) – they run unlicensed copies of XP. Microsoft has never been interested in markets where it can’t make any money. So people empower themselves to create the software they want to use.

    http://www.globalbydesign.com/blog/2004/12/05/openoffice-swahili-launches-while-microsoft-fiddles/
    http://pcworld.about.com/od/linux/Bhutan-Government-comes-back-f.htm

    This can then be copied at no (or next to no) cost and used where-ever they wish. I love the fact that I now run four computers and need Windows for none of them. I love the fact that 10 years ago you needed to have a computer science degree to install Linux – now you need a CD.

    It is my hope that I am here at the start of the next wave of software development, not at the end of a dream that died because people decided to just keep on buying the same stuff that yes, works and works quite well but isn’t what I want.

    A few years ago I started using Linux and never looked back. I hope that will soon be the case for a lot of other people as well.

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