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I' m running 10.10 and I would like to upgrade to 11.04 as it hits Beta. Would performance be better with an installation through running the upgrade script or with a fresh install after a format?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

In my experience, a fresh install is often better. Most of the packages you've installed either by synaptic, though the Ubuntu Software Center or by .debs will have been packaged specifically for your previous version, the scripts don't always take account of this, and it occasionally mess up those apps.

I find having a seperate /home partition for keeping your often used files is an excellent solution for not having to reinstall all your data with clean installs.

For more advice on how to do this, go to here.

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"will have been packaged specifically for your previous version, the scripts don't always take account of this" Can add more detail in your answer what you mean by this? That's totally wrong. – Jorge Castro Mar 31 '11 at 19:31
I've always upgraded. All the non-technical people I've installed Ubuntu for do upgrades without even checking with me and it goes fine. – Kees Cook Apr 1 '11 at 0:34
Linux is not Windows, you can upgrade it without reinstalling. – Adam Byrtek Apr 1 '11 at 7:26

The method you choose doesn't have any impact on system performance. Both are fine, the question is whether you want to start from a clean slate or not.

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Post upgrade I go through the configuration files in the /etc tree with dpkg-new and dpkg-old extensions and adjust the live configuration accordingly. – BillThor Mar 31 '11 at 22:51

I tried a couple of times to do an actual upgrade, and always had major issues, which I did not have when I was trying the live version. This was telling me that something went wrong when upgrading. AS a general rule, I now do not upgrade, but rather install the brand new distro. A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • If you do not want to re-download all your files for the latest DEB packages, that may not be the most recent ones from the ISO, copy all of those form the /var/ directory. There is an actual utility that will backup all the DEB files you had installed, and will restore them. You still have to install them, but tis would save you some download time. This would also apply to applications that are not part of the main distro, but that you want to install. The latest DEB file will likely be readily available to you.

  • backup your /home directory completely. If it was not at first installed in its own partition, I would recommend doing so in your new install. Later installations can then only point to this directory, saving you time and efforts of file transfer.

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I was experiencing major issues in the past (like 2009) but the last upgrades went very smooth. – ziggystar Mar 31 '11 at 15:20
And I have never experienced any issues. Lucky me! :) – Rafał Cieślak Mar 31 '11 at 16:46
I find backing up .deb files pointless when upgrading. Because the upgraded version will have a differently packaged .deb (say from maverick trunk instead of lucid), the next time Update Manager runs it's going to replace them all anyway. – Ankur Banerjee Mar 31 '11 at 17:41
You don't need a separate partition for /home on reinstalls:… – Jorge Castro Apr 1 '11 at 0:16

Personally, in Natty beta, i was unable to use the downloaded iso to install. Ubiqity always ended in a IO error and left the drive unusable. However, i solved this by freshly nstalling 10.10 and immediatlly upgrading with the -d flag. This worked perfectly and i havent had alot of crashes.

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