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Question is about Ubuntu release process. Are migrations from n to n+1 releases expected?

Assuming we have server with installed Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. Will it be smoothly upgradable to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS via apt-get upgrade ?

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Short answer: yes you can upgrade from LTS to LTS – Thomas Ward Jan 6 at 20:55
Why would you assume you can't? – Braiam Jan 6 at 23:10
I am not experienced with Ubuntu LTS Server, I used to use Arch, Slackware, SuSE and other distros... In some I experienced situations that migration from release n.x to (n+1).y required reinstallation from scratch, or was very painful (leading to reinstallaction from scratch after sweat&tears&blood). Therefore, I ask before hand, being not sure if smooth transitions are available only for normal releases, or also for LTS releases. – Grzegorz Wierzowiecki Jan 6 at 23:42
Note that if you delay and wait too long after the LTS release is no longer supported (which you shouldn't, because security updates), the upgrade process isn't quite so smooth. – Zach Lipton Jan 7 at 8:25
@GrzegorzWierzowiecki, a clarification: Arch is a rolling release, so there are no releases once you have it installed. A single pacman command just gets you the latest. Arch has no named releases; all they do is cut a series of installers regularly. – jdv Jan 7 at 15:26
up vote 37 down vote accepted

Yes, you can upgrade from one Ubuntu LTS version to the next one, skipping the non-LTS releases in-between. It's intended to work that way and it gets tested.

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The last time I upgraded from one LTS to the next I had to wait for the first point release. Has this restriction been lifted? – Gerald Schneider Jan 7 at 13:34
@GeraldSchneider This could be a new question, 16.04 is coming soon and this will be very relevant. – Mark Kirby Jan 8 at 16:33
@GeraldSchneider The point (no pun intended) of LTS releases is stability, so they don't enable the upgrade notifications until a point upgrade has been released. You can upgrade before however using do-release-upgrade (or one of its flags, I've forgotten the exact process). For more information see:… – Seth Jan 13 at 0:46
@Seth do-release-upgrade -d will get you to 16.04 from 14.04 without waiting for 16.04.1 "point release" :-) Just did it the other day. That is... assuming your /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades includes the default Prompt=lts – Tyler Jul 21 at 1:02
Now that 16.04.1 is out, I still cant do a do-release-upgrade on my ubuntu server 14.04 LTS. My question is here -… – Lord Loh. Jul 21 at 22:47

You can upgrade smoothly through LTS releases whether it's Server or Desktop. It doesn't matter what you use, you just need to use these commands:

For Desktop Version:

sudo do-release-upgrade

For Server Version:

sudo apt-get install update-manager-core
sudo do-release-upgrade
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And anyway, wouldn't it be sudo apt-get dist-upgrade? Or is that command for something else? – SuperSluether Jan 6 at 23:35
@SuperSluether dist-upgrade updates the whole system, apps, kernel, the lot to the latest available versions but not the distribution, do-release-upgrade will upgrade to the next release, you should do a dist-upgrade if you like new kernels and stuff, as opposed to the update manger, which just does, kernel updates for that version, apps and, security. – Mark Kirby Jan 7 at 0:18
Merge Flimm's answer with yours and add your sources, and I'll upvote this – dcorking Jan 7 at 13:22
Yes, you can upgrade like the answers below say but you'll have to use the command on this answer to actually upgrade Ubuntu Versions. – Dominic Hayes Jan 7 at 16:55
OK @DominicHayes I changed my vote, don't forget to comment when you edit, no one is notified of it. – Mark Kirby Jan 7 at 22:07

You can upgrade from one LTS version to another. If its smooth or not depends.

If you're referring only to the OS, the process is tested and if your hardware is compatible everything will be fine.

Don't forget though that you may have your own software/scripts/etc installed or other configurations that may have unmet dependencies in the new version. (eg.: you have some script with deprecated functions that are dropped in a newer version)

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Upgrades from 14.04 to 16.04 are not automatically when 16.04 comes out in April but in July the first point release 16.04.1 will become available and all 14.04 users will be offered the upgrade then.

However, if you want to upgrade immediately, you do NOT need to upgrade to an intermediate release first. Just run the following in a terminal (and type your password):

sudo update-manager -d

You will then be offered the 14.04 -> 16.04 upgrade without waiting for 16.04.1.

The reason Ubuntu doesn't automatically offer 16.04 to 14.04 users is simple: those users are using a very stable LTS release, and might hit undiscovered bugs in 16.04 if they upgraded immediately at release. Any important bugs found in 16.04 should be fixed by the 16.04.1 point release, so LTS users have less chance of running into bugs in the new release.

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Tried update-manager -d from 14.04 to 16.04. Broke the UI. – AlikElzin-kilaka Jun 23 at 21:47

If you want to upgrade from 12.04 LTS to 16.04 LTS, you can't do that. You can't skip an LTS release like that. You need to update 12.04->14.04 and then 14.04->16.04.

It will probably be quicker to just do a reinstall (and setting up your server so it'll be easier next time ;) ).

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