Repost : Upgrading Linux Mint 13 “Maya” to 14 “Nadia”

An old post I wrote for Blackpool LUG on the old blog back in 2012, I decided to repost it for two reasons: one is that the Blackpool LUG blog has moved to a WordPress.com site and it’s hard to find older content, plus as Blackpool LUG is now part of Blackpool Makerspace the Blog is no longer active.  The second reason is Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” is due for a stable release soon and I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane as far as how the upgrade process has changed over the years.

Finally got around to “Upgrading” my Sony Vaio VPCZ21MPE Ultrabook to Linux Mint 14.  Tried the upgrade path, admittedly it’s not recommended and my experience highlights why.  The upgrade instructions on Linux Mint’s site were basically how Linux Power Users used to upgrade their Distro’s back in the day, edit your sources.list file and then perform apt-get update, upgrade, dist-upgrade and then reboot. This worked fine up to the point where VirtualBox upgraded and tried to restart the service but couldn’t as the version of the kernel it needed wasn’t running as it had only just installed it.  When FAIL popped up against this item in the terminal I thought to myself “Aye I, this is going to come back and bite me in the arse later” but by then it was too late!!  Rebooting was fine it brought me back to the GDM Login screen without issue, however as soon as I logged in there was a Gnome Session Error which reported a session failure and informed me it was going to abort, looking at the error log showed it was unable to initialise VirtualBox due to the VirtualBox demon not being present.  After a reboot I tried again to log-in but got the same result.

I then booted with a LiveUSB image and at this point ran out of courage and decided as I was in the Live environment, I might as well hit the installer and blow away the upgraded installation and start afresh.

There are infact two recommended “Upgrade” paths, the one outlined above and the second is the “Fresh Upgrade” which is basically blowing away your existing installation after running the mintBackup tool which copies all your data and software selections, installing the latest version and then running the backup tool again to restore your data and your software choices.  This is the recommended way of upgrading, though this can’t really be described as upgrading.  I did run the backup tool before trying the other method so was able to restore most of my software, there were a few apps which were installed outside the Repo’s which baulked the restore when it came to install, but there were only two applications this effected so not a massive problem.  Something else I do which is recommended especially if you want to change Distro regularly is to have a separate partition for your home directory, leave this intact every time and just remount it during disk partitioning.  You may need to remove the desktop settings folders usually hidden (the name appended with a dot) especially if your changing Distros.

Even with all this it took just over an hour to upgrade, I’m liking the new features they’ve added, I’ll discuss this in more details on Episode 32 of the Full Circle Magazine Podcast.

About the Author: Oliver Clark

Motorcycling, Programming & Everything Inbetween - I am a Free & Open Source Software Advocate, a Network and Audio Geek and I do a little Podcasting aswell.

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