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At the moment I have Mint on my computer, and I want to change back to Ubuntu, but with 13.04 coming so soon, should I install 12.10 and upgrade, or are there any advantages in waiting and doing a fresh install of 13.04?

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If you have already decided to use Ubuntu, you should feel free to install Ubuntu 12.10, because you can upgrade to 13.04 when it comes out.

Assuming you wait for the actual release date to upgrade, most likely there will be no problems upgrading. I do recommend reading the release notes before upgrading, in case there are bugs that might affect the upgrade. (Similarly, I recommend reading the release notes before performing a fresh install, if you choose to do that.)

It's possible that a fresh install will work better than an upgrade, even if nothing is noted in the release notes about it. But if you have any preference at all, I recommend going with your preference. There's no strong reason to think a fresh install will work better, and if something goes wrong during the upgrade or afterwards, you can always just wipe the disk and perform a fresh install of 13.04!

You also have the options of:

  • Sticking with 12.10 even after 13.04 is out (12.10 will be supported through April 2014).
  • Installing 13.04 now, even though it is not yet released (please note that if you do this, you cannot get support for it here on Ask Ubuntu until it is released, but you can get support from a variety of other official Ubuntu help resources). You shouldn't do this unless you're prepared to face bugs, including crashes. Unless you know or want to learn how to report bugs, I recommend against using a development release of Ubuntu. But I've included this because it's one of your options. In my experience, 13.04 works pretty well now, but my experience with it is highly limited.
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One more option is to stick with the LTS releases, i.e. to install 12.04 and upgrade only when 14.04 comes out. This is suitable if you prefer stability to cutting-edge. Also to note: always do a full backup before upgrading. –  Paddy Landau Mar 26 '13 at 10:22
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@PaddyLandau I might disagree with you about the "full backup," depending on what you mean. All documents and important files should always be backed up! But an actual image of the entire system is usually unnecessary, as you can just reinstall Ubuntu. Most users don't need to back up the entire drive, just their own important data. Also, people often say that backups are especially important during a release upgrade. But I don't buy that. A release upgrade changes sources.list and upgrades a lot of packages. If it goes wrong the OS may not boot, but the user's data still remain intact. –  Eliah Kagan Mar 26 '13 at 11:17
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On the other hand, arguably it is especially important to make sure all backups of one's important data are current when performing an upgrade or any other installation task from a live system (i.e., a CD/DVD/USB). Such a caution could be justified by observing that choosing the wrong installation task is relatively easy and often results in data loss. (That's not an issue with the Software Updater / Update Manager or the do-release-upgrade utility, which will not perform installation tasks that destroy user data.) –  Eliah Kagan Mar 26 '13 at 11:19
    
Also, mount the /home folder on a separate partition, that way whenever you want to do a fresh install you can just erase the / partition and keep /home. –  JW. Mar 26 '13 at 14:47
    
@EliahKagan Yes, you are right. I was talking about backing up the data, not the system. It is important with upgrades; the Ubuntu Forums have plenty of people who found that they were unable to boot after an upgrade (usually power failures or the like). Although it is normally fixable, it provides peace of mind if you have a backup! –  Paddy Landau Mar 26 '13 at 15:51

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