Ubuntu Upgrade: How does it work?

BlackHawkA4

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Sep 1, 2010
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Anyone using Ubuntu I just have a quick question.

I've always been a fan of Ubuntu and have messed around with it frequently on a live CD. I even installed it on an old tower my girlfriends brother had. Needless to say, though, he wasn't a big linux fan and hated it and made me put XP back on that old peice. lol.

I finally got a machine (An old iMac if you've seen my post) to run it as my primary OS on. Love it. It's a little funky on the iMac as far as some features/effects go with the mac hardware.

My question, being this is my first install and long time use, is how do upgrades get handled? Are they automatic. I've obviously gotten some updates and what not as far as security, etc go. But, what happens when Ubuntu gets updated to 11.05, etc; or, even 12. Will it upgrade through the update center; or, will I need to create a new disk and install?

Thanks. (Too lazy to make an account on the Ubuntu Forums. Figured someone here using it would know.
 

jdbower

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Jul 2, 2010
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Ubuntu releases are numbered YY.MM followed by an alphabetic animal alliteration. Assuming you're running the Desktop version, it's supported for 18 months during which time you'll get updates fairly frequently. Assuming you've installed Natty Narwhal (11.04, released April 2011) you'll be supported until October 2012.

The exception is what they call LTS (Long Term Support) releases which are designed around the corporate environment where longer lifetimes are useful. Here you're supported for three years and there's a new LTS release every two years. Lucid (10.04) was the last one, 12.04 will be the next one.

So, these are updates and relatively small things. A full upgrade is often more serious. Assuming you're using the GUI you'll see a little button saying a new version is ready, click here to download or something to that effect. If you click the button you get asked to shut down any open applications and it downloads the update. It's a little more involved than the standard update, but still usually pretty easy to manage. With non-standard hardware like an iMac I'd probably wait a bit or check to see if there's someone who's done it already.

Often I use this as an excuse to wipe everything out and start from scratch. I keep my home directory on another partition, reformat the root partition and install from CD. This cleans up a lot of orphaned packages I've installed but haven't bothered to delete but lets me save all my data and settings.

In short, every April and October you'll see a button pop up during the standard upgrade process asking if you want to update to the latest release but you're not forced to upgrade immediately.

The releases are listed here:
List of Ubuntu releases - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
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BlackHawkA4

Drop the Bag
Sep 1, 2010
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Ubuntu releases are numbered YY.MM followed by an alphabetic animal alliteration. Assuming you're running the Desktop version, it's supported for 18 months during which time you'll get updates fairly frequently. Assuming you've installed Natty Narwhal (11.04, released April 2011) you'll be supported until October 2012.

The exception is what they call LTS (Long Term Support) releases which are designed around the corporate environment where longer lifetimes are useful. Here you're supported for three years and there's a new LTS release every two years. Lucid (10.04) was the last one, 12.04 will be the next one.

So, these are updates and relatively small things. A full upgrade is often more serious. Assuming you're using the GUI you'll see a little button saying a new version is ready, click here to download or something to that effect. If you click the button you get asked to shut down any open applications and it downloads the update. It's a little more involved than the standard update, but still usually pretty easy to manage. With non-standard hardware like an iMac I'd probably wait a bit or check to see if there's someone who's done it already.

Often I use this as an excuse to wipe everything out and start from scratch. I keep my home directory on another partition, reformat the root partition and install from CD. This cleans up a lot of orphaned packages I've installed but haven't bothered to delete but lets me save all my data and settings.

In short, every April and October you'll see a button pop up during the standard upgrade process asking if you want to update to the latest release but you're not forced to upgrade immediately.

The releases are listed here:
List of Ubuntu releases - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ok, so it will do it from the OS. Cool.

Yea, I partitioned as well so I could mess with OS and not lose my data. I originally do that anyways; but, some how forgot to in the process of messing with it like 15 times. So, fixing issues became an event more than a simple fix. I finally remembered the last time so I'm all good; and, if anything were to happen I would be able to just wipe and re install without worry to my data.

I enjoy what I did to this iMac; but, I still wish I could have found a cheap laptop when I was looking. It's very annoying since it's in my room and I don't have a desk and usually sit on the floor to use it. (And, annoying since I use the Nexus as my mouse. Usually this isn't a problem where I wouldn't be able to USE the Nexus because if it were off odds are I'm in terminal and don't need a mouse; but, since remotedroid crashed every 5 minutes and the numbers don't work on the keyboard with premotedroid on ubunt. It's annoying, lol).
 

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