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For example, in moving from Maverick to Natty, Banshee replaces Rhythmbox as the media player. But if I had installed a player different from either one of these, and uninstalled Rhythmbox, how would the distribution upgrade behave? Would it still install Banshee? What if I simply uninstall and then reinstall Rhythmbox? Will it upgrade to Banshee?

Months ago, on the Lucid to Maverick update, I got impatient and made the upgrade a week or two before the final release. At that time, the new Ubuntu font was not implemented, so I downloaded and installed it by myself. When I upgraded to the final version, of course I had the font, but it was not set up as it should have been, with the correct font sizes. I fixed them manually later. I suppose that this happened because the system "considered" this to be a personal setting which should not be changed.

My main question is: How does the system "know" whether I want to use a particular setting as the default, thus upgrading it according to the new version, or if that setting was actively set by me and, in that case keeping it intact?

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Related but not quite a dupe:… – Jorge Castro Jan 23 '11 at 0:20
up vote 3 down vote accepted

From a technical viewpoint, all the files in your home directory will not be touched during an OS update. This fact contains the answer to your question: Since, under Linux, programs generally store their settings in hidden directories under ~/, the settings will be kept.

However, only retaining the settings does not mean that nothing will change for you: If, during an update, app A is replaced by B , the settings from ~/.asettings will still be there, but there's no program left to work with them. Your "user experience" will be that A and everything you configured there are lost, and you'll have to start configuring B instead (or simply install A manually again).

Another problem arises when programs change heavily, for example when KDE moved from version 3 to 4. It may well be that a program changed so fundamentally (consider Amarok 1 vs Amarok 2) that the old config files, although still there, are ignored.

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In the example I gave, then, in order for the font to behave as "default", I would have to delete whatever configuration file sets those font sizes, right? Also, do the installed apps count as settings? What would happen in the Rhythmbox example? – PONTO Jan 23 '11 at 0:57
Yes, that's usually how it works (although in this case, I think there's also a "Defaults" button in the font selection dialog). – jstarek Jan 23 '11 at 1:01

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