The situation:

I have a couple of machines with modern hardware running 16.04 mainly used for scientific computations. With the new LTS on the horizon, I am looking to upgrade them to 20.04 with stability and reliability as key component. If possible, I would keep the unity desktop and not switch the Gnome.

The question: Best approach to take, first upgrade to 18.04 or directly to 20.04 on first point release? Possible to upgrade to a new LTS without breaking unity?

Will keep this post updated as release date gets closer.

  • 4
    Upgrading should retain unity desktop, but might add gnome. You will have to see if you have made many changes to 16.04 to see if upgrading will be more difficult to a clean install, less changes better upgrade. If you want to wait till about June, should have option to upgrade to 20.04. Unity desktop is available for installing after.
    – crip659
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 15:15
  • 2
    @David He asking about stock Ubuntu 16.04, not another distribution or remix. 16.04 was shipped with unity as main desktop. Some of us like it.
    – crip659
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 15:19
  • 1
    I don't think there is any way to avoid getting Gnome3, Unity is still in the repositories tough. It is probably also too much to ask for guaranteed stability and reliability without extensive testing with your particular hardware and configs. I'd strongly suggest running a few test upgrades. Lastly, Ubuntu 16.04 is supported till April 2021. Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 15:45
  • 1
    Upgrading to 18.04 is possible now. 20.04 is only possible now as a clean install of beta which will update to 20.04 by itself when it comes out. Have all important data backup for each case. If you have space on drive/another drive can dual boot to try out.
    – crip659
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 15:54
  • 1
    @David stock Ubuntu Desktop 16.04 is not Budgie Remix. Therefore your statement is wrong about 16.04 being "offtopic" - Ubuntu Desktop 16.04 stock is still supported (as is Server) until 2021. (Budgie Remix is a specific remix and unofficial flavor of 16.04, but not base Ubuntu 16.04) If you wish to argue otherwise, then open a thread on Meta.
    – Thomas Ward
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 16:20

2 Answers 2


First, if you're looking for stability, then you must wait till June for the first point release of 20.04.

Second, you cannot upgrade 16.04 directly to 20.04. You first need to reach 18.04 and then 20.04. Amid this, you'll definitely lose Unity as 18.04 uses GNOME. But, guess what you can also customize your Ubuntu replacing GNOME with Unity later on.

Lastly, without GUI? Yes, you can use the single-line command for upgradation:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

sudo do-release-upgrade

You can also configure it for checking any new release version, in case it is configured for checking only LTS release. For the same, update the file:

sudo vim /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades

Change 'Prompt=normal' or 'Prompt=lts'

If you're not able to get Ubuntu 20.04, use development version using the command:

sudo do-release-upgrade -d 
  • 1
    Will there be any issues (like unexpected behaviors) after upgrading to 20 from 16?
    – vineeshvs
    Commented Sep 1, 2020 at 6:03
  • 1
    Just to note: I had to install the latest version of PHP, and then in that new php.ini file, I had to un-comment some of the extensions lines, before I could get my site back online. Make sure to check out apache's and php's error logs if you have trouble.
    – Richard
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 20:23
  • 3
    Can't get passed Please install all available updates for your release before upgrading.. Have run sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade already :(
    – CpILL
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 22:32
  • I'm seeing the same issue as CpILL.
    – watchwood
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 14:11
  • I had the same issue as CpiLL but if you notice the author of this answer says to use "sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade" and not "sudo apt-get".
    – Ben Rawner
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 6:04

I had the problem that sudo apt update failed and thus I was not able to proceed to do-release-upgrade ( I got stuck on Please install all available updates for your release before upgrading..)

I was able to fix most problem using the suggestion provided here and removing some packages (in my case skypeforlinux).

Later I also encountered the problem that there was apparently a problem with the symlink to python3 , while the fix was indeed fixing the symlink for python via sudo ln -sf /usr/bin/python2.7 /usr/bin/python.

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