I'm running a Dell Inspiron 3551 which came with Ubuntu 14.04 pre-installed. Recently, my computer would not boot to Ubuntu, so I had to recover Ubuntu, i.e., reinstall Ubuntu from scratch.

First, I ran the command dist-upgrade to upgrade my packages.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Given that I am starting with a clean system, I wanted to update to Ubuntu 16.04. I found that I can do this by running the command:

sudo do-release-upgrade

If I update to Ubuntu 16.04, will it break some of the old 14.04 packages that I had installed? Is it generally recommended to do do-release-upgrade before running sudo apt-get dist-upgrade?

  • 2
    If you are starting with a clean system, why not just install Ubuntu 16.04 and skip this upgrade process?
    – edwinksl
    May 16, 2017 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


Upgrading to 16.04 also upgrades most currently installed packages to the versions they are in the 16.04 repositories thus meaning that they will work fine on 16.04 and non of them will be broken as long as you installed them all from the official repositories and not manually or from a PPA.

Running sudo apt-get dist-upgrade will upgrade all the packages to the latest version in the repositories for that specific Ubuntu version, sudo do-release-upgrade upgrades to new Ubuntu versions/releases.

You do not need to run sudo apt-get dist-upgrade before the other command because sudo do-release-upgrade runs the previous command first in order to make sure that all the packages on the current system are up-to-date to avoid any potential issues.

So the answer is: You can run sudo apt-get dist-upgrade before sudo do-release-upgrade, but it doesn't really make any difference because sudo do-release-upgrade runs it to start with anyway.

  • 1
    What should I do? Background: I like simple instructions without "or"
    – guettli
    Jan 3, 2019 at 9:51

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