I have been running version 21.10 of Ubuntu, which of course has been EOL for a little while now. I finally attempted to upgrade it to 22.04.1 today, by selecting "Upgrade" in the little dialog box that pops up every now and then to remind me that 21.10 is EOL.

(It now seems that maybe I shouldn't have done that -- that I should e.g. have followed the more-manual instructions at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/EOLUpgrades/ and How to install software or upgrade from an old unsupported release? ... but what's done is done and the question now is how best to recover from the damage. And in any case those look pretty old, and I'm not sure whether even if I'd known of their existence I should have trusted them over the fact that Ubuntu's own upgrade machinery was inviting me to click its button.)

(While I'm on the mea culpas: yes, I should in fact have upgraded sooner. Again, what's done is done and I'm looking for advice on how to proceed from here.)

Everything proceeded, apparently, reasonably smoothly (exception: the Firefox snap upgrade seemed to have some sort of problem), until (I think) the end of the "installing" step, at which point I was delighted to see a window saying:

Could not install the upgrades

The upgrade has aborted. Your system may be in an unusable state. A recovery will run now (dpg --configure -a).

In the upgrade terminal (i.e., the thing revealed by clicking on "Terminal") the last thing visible was three repetitions of

libdvd-pkg: Checking orig.tar integrity...
/usr/src/libdvd-pkg/libdvdcss_1.4.3.orig.tar.bz2: OK
libdvd-pkg: `apt-get check` failed, you may have broken packages. Aborting ...
ZSys is adding automatic system snapshot to GRUB menu.

On clicking ... er, bother, my notes don't say what the relevant button was, but the only thing that seemed to be actually doable at this point ... there was a further message:

The upgrade has completed but there were errors during the upgrade process.

The system is still running, and at least some things work apparently normally. I am reluctant to poke it too much, on the grounds that running partially-upgraded software seems like it could cause trouble.

Superficially, the machine seems to think it is now running 22.04.1. For instance, the contents of /etc/lsb-release seem consistent with that, and the But at no point during the process did it reboot, or restart my window manager, or anything similarly disruptive, so as I'm pretty sure 22.04 uses a different version of the Linux kernel from 21.10 (5.15 versus 5.13) and a different version of GNOME (42 versus 40) I don't think I can currently be running all the things I would be with a fully updated 22.04.1 system.

(In /boot, there is a 5.15 kernel file and vmlinuz is a symlink to it. So the kernel appropriate for 22.04.1 is definitely there. Likewise, it looks as if the GNOME binaries in /usr/bin are version 42.4.)

This is all rather distressing. At this point:

  • What should I do next?

More specifically:

  • Are there further things I should do to either complete or roll back the upgrade attempt? E.g., I know there is such a thing as apt --fix-broken install which evidently attempts to fix some things, but I don't know whether it's designed for this situation.
  • If I reboot the machine, is that likely to break things? Or to un-break things that might currently be broken?
  • Are there things I can usefully do to get more insight into what went wrong and how (if it's possible) to fix them?
  • Are there things I can usefully do to get more insight into what state the machine is currently in? E.g., whether there are things that are meant to get upgraded when the process runs to completion without errors, and that haven't been?

user535733 makes the excellent suggestion of looking in the logs. It looks to me as if the relevant logs are in /var/log/dist-upgrade, and the only file in there that shows obvious signs of trouble is main.log. There are three things in there that look fishy.

  • Near the start, there is evidently an attempt to do an apt update or something similar, which failed because 21.10 is EOLed and the update servers are unavailable. (My guess: this is probably benign.)
  • Near the end, there are several errors complaining that upgrading Firefox ran into trouble. (My guess: this is probably benign; I'll need to reinstall the Firefox snap, that's all.)
    • This made something called installArchives fail. I'm pretty sure that's just because that was an action that included upgrading Firefox. Again, I expect this is benign.
  • Almost the last thing in the file is an attempt to run ./xorg_fix_proprietary.py, which failed because there was no such file.
    • A bit of googling suggests that people have had a similar problem in the past with a variety of different Ubuntu versions. I am slightly worried that this may indicate that some earlier thing that was meant to put that file in place didn't complete. Seems like it should in principle be fixable by reinstalling the relevant packages, though.
  • You can not roll back an upgrade or partial upgrade. There is no direct upgrade path from an EOL release to a current release. A reinstall is your best bet. Of course back up all your data first.
    – David
    Sep 27, 2022 at 16:36
  • I know that there is no official upgrade path from an EOL release to anything at all. However, I am (perhaps naively) hopeful that it may be possible to tell what has actually happened and finish it off manually. Or even that, despite the alarming messages, everything's actually worked basically OK and if I reboot the machine I'll be running a working 22.04 release (perhaps needing a bit of package fixup). It seems like it should at least be possible to tell what state it's in... Sep 27, 2022 at 16:52
  • What does /etc/apt/sources.list look like? Do the lines say "jammy" instead of "impish"? What does the output of sudo apt update look like? (This command won't actually update anything). Sep 27, 2022 at 16:59
  • @OrganicMarble Yes, /etc/apt/sources.list says jammy in many places. apt update fetches ~2MB of stuff, all from places with jammy in their names, and says there are 20 packages that can be upgraded. Sep 27, 2022 at 18:40
  • 1
    Assuming I had backups, if I were in your shoes, I'd do a sudo apt upgrade and then reboot, crossing my fingers. Sep 27, 2022 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


First of all, to summarize the advice I got in comments:

  • Upgrades from EOLed versions of Ubuntu are, indeed, entirely unsupported, and no one particularly tries to make them not break.
  • Doing a release upgrade is pretty much the worst time for things to break: everything is fragile and you can easily end up with a system that doesn't work and can't realistically be fixed.
  • There isn't much help to be given in cases like mine: there isn't, e.g., a good way to find out exactly what things have been done and what (if any) have been left undone.
    • (Or maybe there is, but the person advising me in comments considers that anyone who needs to ask this sort of question in the first case would not be able to carry it out.)
  • The least-terrible option is to
    • take appropriate steps so that if everything explodes you can bring it back from backups without too much pain, then ...
    • do a final apt upgrade, then ...
    • reboot, and ...
    • hope it works.

So that's what I did (well, first I apt removed a couple of packages that were being complained about every time I did an apt operation). And it looks like I won this particular upgrade-failure lottery: the system booted successfully and seems like it's working OK.

  • +1: Accurate summary, and congratulations on your good fortune today!
    – user535733
    Sep 27, 2022 at 20:54
  • Glad you got it sorted out. Sep 27, 2022 at 22:48
  • I'm guessing you're not as glad of that as I am. Sep 28, 2022 at 0:40

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