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I'm running LAMP on Ubuntu Server 10.04.2 LTS 64 bit and want to switch to 11.04. Why I want to switch is out of scope for this question.

What is a better choice and why:

  • to upgrade
  • or to re-install?

For me "better" means performance, manageability and stability of the resulting system. Don't hesitate to suggest your criteria :)

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Thanks to @Lekensteyn for point about downtime. Although I didn't forget about it I forgot to mention it. – kaimadag Jun 14 '11 at 7:05
up vote 1 down vote accepted

That's just my own personal experience but if've come to favour a reinstall over an upgrade everytime. I have upgraded both server and desktop editions of ubuntu at least tree times each and never was I perfectly satisfied with the result. Something always runs buggy, some configuration not migrated etc. A reinstall is worth the extra time.

Maybe the reason is, that the developer team can not test every case an bear in mind all the changes, you might have made to your system. Also some feature are never enabled in upgrades to not break the stuff users are used to.

A reinstall just results in a cleaner neater system all the components are designed to work with eachother.

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I prefer reinstall too, but wanted to hear others experience of server upgrade. I will reinstall but will look for a way to minimize downtime. I keep my configurations portable and track /etc with etckeeper to ease transition. – kaimadag Jun 14 '11 at 7:03

A re-install is always better than an upgrade in terms of a new, clean system. If you want to keep your current programs and settings, you'd better upgrade.

When a server is down, it's often bad. I do not know if you've a separate machine for testing / migrating, but if you do not care about downtime with one machine, you can just do a fresh install.

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Downtime is important as it's a production server. Thanks for reminding it. I always preferred reinstall anyway, back from Windows past. To minimize downtime I plan to use a mirror partition or image, but that's a topic for another question. – kaimadag Jun 14 '11 at 6:59

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