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If I plan to install a newer version Ubuntu,

  1. how shall I know what software that were installed on my previous Ubuntu, if I want to reinstall them? Is there a convenient way to install all previous softwares?
  2. How can I keep the settings and configurations for the software?
  3. will it be possible for the newer version Ubuntu, the software installed for the older one cannot be found for the newer one?
  4. will there be other considerations regarding installation of previous software?

Thanks and regards!

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

On #1, to get a list:

sudo dpkg --get-selections > software_list

To reinstall the list on a new installation:

sudo dpkg --set-selections < software_list
sudo dselect

On #2, you need to know where configuration files are located. (Backup the files in /etc and your home directory at least).

On #3, yes it is possible. Yet, later you could find out how to install a missing application, though another repository, possibly.

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I think upgrading over the internet or using the alternate CD will be a better option for you if you really need to achieve the three goals, rather than going for a fresh installation.

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Question 1 - Part 1: Which software is installed on my current Ubuntu system? I solved this little problem for me with a little script that I called install.sh. Every time I've installed something new, I added the line sudo apt-get install [name-of-the-program] to this file.

If you realy want a complete list, dpkg --get-selections | awk '!/deinstall|purge|hold/ {print $1 " " $2}' > packages.list is what you are looking for. But sometimes a program gets replaced in Ubuntu for some reason, e.g. LibreOffice replaces OpenOffice. You should at least try the new version, as it might fit better in the existing system. If you do this very often you can get a lot of programs that you don't realy need.

In both solutions you have to copy your package sources: cp /etc/apt/sources.list .

Question 1 - Part 2: How do I reinstall the software on a fresh Ubuntu system? First, get your sources. Copy all entries, that were added by you manually to your new sources.list. Then execute sudo apt-get update

If you used my script-solution, just execute the script: ./install.sh If you used the complete list, just type xargs -a "packages.list" sudo apt-get install

Question 2: How can I get them configured the as they were before? Some programs, like the Browsers Chrome and Firefox, have an option to synchronise configurations. For every other program you will have to find the configuration file and save it manually.

Question 3 I don't know an example, but as far as I know this can happen.

Question 4 If you have an second hard drive, you could do it like I do:

  1. Save the whole system on another drive.
  2. Install the newer system
  3. Execute the install.sh you have created before with the software you really don't want to miss. Don't install more!
  4. Give the new software a try. If it matches your needs, it's great! If not, just copy the configuration files of our second hard drive and install the old program.

If you don't want to have that much work, just upgrade your system.

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