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New Some Linux distros (e.g. Mint) don't support version upgrades.
I think Drook's plan to have a /home makes sense. And AFAIK having a /swap makes sense too (IIRC, it treats it different than a normal file system on a norlam partition).

Stretching/shrinking partitions in Linux isn't problematic any more AFAIK. I've only had troubles when doing fresh partitioning on a disk with Winders already in place and when I needed to shrink the Winders partition.

Of course, a full wipe and install is the absolute best way to do it, but unless you have a fast backup/restore path (and USB2 on an old laptop isn't that), then it can be very painful.

My $0.02.

Cheers,
Scott.
New What?
Seriously?

No version upgrade?

Dealbreaker.

I outlined in my post why /swap made sense once, but no longer.
New Yup. Version upgrade is not recommended.
https://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/2

C1. "Fresh" upgrades

In a "fresh" upgrade you use the liveDVD of the new release to perform a new installation and to overwrite your existing partitions.

A "Fresh" upgrade consists of the following steps:

Making a backup of the data
Making a backup of the software selection
Performing a fresh installation using the liveDVD of the new release
Restoring the data
Restoring the software selection
This is the recommended way to upgrade Linux Mint and it offers the following advantages:

Safe: Your data is backed up externally. Whatever mistake you make or whatever bug happens during the installation cannot affect it.
Fast: The installation usually lasts 15 minutes. The DVD for the new release contains compressed data. Downloading the ISO and upgrading from the DVD is much faster than upgrading the system from the repositories.
Reliable: First, you get the opportunity to test your hardware detection in the new release using the liveDVD. If anything is wrong you can simply decide not to upgrade, it's not too late. Second, you end up with a fresh installation of Linux Mint, i.e. a system that was fully tested by the development team and the community.
Easy: Things do go as planned this way.
C2. "Package" upgrades

A "package" upgrade consists of the following steps:

Pointing APT to the repositories of the newer release
Asking APT to perform a full upgrade
APT is the package management system used by Linux Mint. Alternatively, some releases were given a graphical upgrade tool to perform these steps.

This way of upgrading Linux Mint should only be recommended to advanced users.

Here are the pros and cons of upgrading the system this way:

Cons:

Slow: APT will download the new version of all the packages installed on your system. Using a fresh upgrade you could have downloaded all that data by simply getting the ISO.
Unreliable: Depending on your modifications, your sources, your added software and your configuration you could end up with a system that acts and feels really different than a brand new version of the newer Linux Mint release. You're far from the beaten track and the added features might not work as well on your system as they were designed to.
Risky: The temptation when you upgrade with APT is not to perform backups... since your partitions aren't overwritten, nothing "forces" you to make backups... think about the risk though.
Complicated: Packages conflict with each others, they can bring complex dependencies and put you in situations that are difficult to solve.
Pros:

Automated: APT does everything for you (well, until something goes wrong of course)
Real upgrade: A "fresh" upgrade is kind of like the new Linux Mint with your data on it... this in comparison feels more like "your system" running the newer version underneath.


FWIW.

Cheers,
Scott.
New That's pretty terrible.
What makes it worse is that it's built on Debian.

Which is the most robusterest thing to upgrade.

That's just incompetent.

However, if (big "if"?) they track upstream Debian properly, all their APT/dependency-related cons are bullshit.
New I think they just don't want to be bothered with trying to support upgrades.
Sure, it should be painless, but they're telling people they're on their own.

Kinda makes sense for a small outfit that doesn't want support-headaches.

Cheers,
Scott.
New Tells me something else
They've dicked around with the packages in their distro and now you can't just type:

# apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade

...and expect it to work, like I did for seven consecutive releases of Ubuntu. (I renamed the old sources.list every time. I archived the system before switching, and here's what I've got:

01/04/2006 09:41 266 sources.list.save
26/10/2006 19:56 544 sources.list.dapper
04/11/2006 09:38 715 sources.list.edgy
09/12/2007 09:58 726 sources.list.feisty
23/05/2008 12:17 720 sources.list.gutsy
25/06/2008 18:51 708 sources.list~
21/11/2008 15:19 273 sources.list.hardy
29/04/2009 20:23 282 sources.list.intrepid
29/04/2009 20:24 276 sources.list
     Disk partitioning tips? - (drook) - (21)
         looks decent -NT - (boxley)
         Re: Disk partitioning tips? - (pwhysall) - (19)
             The /home partition is so I can do a reinstall without losing everything - (drook) - (10)
                 Re: The /home partition is so I can do a reinstall without losing everything - (pwhysall) - (7)
                     How far is "way back"? - (drook)
                     Some Linux distros (e.g. Mint) don't support version upgrades. - (Another Scott) - (5)
                         What? - (pwhysall) - (4)
                             Yup. Version upgrade is not recommended. - (Another Scott) - (3)
                                 That's pretty terrible. - (pwhysall) - (2)
                                     I think they just don't want to be bothered with trying to support upgrades. - (Another Scott) - (1)
                                         Tells me something else - (pwhysall)
                 Suspend to disk is simpler with a swap partition - (scoenye) - (1)
                     Got an Ubuntu live thumb drive I'll be using -NT - (drook)
             eh? been practice since about 1991 or so - (boxley) - (7)
                 That's 25 years ago. - (pwhysall) - (3)
                     /me has an old system with a (relatively) tiny and slow disk -NT - (drook) - (2)
                         No, you don't. -NT - (pwhysall) - (1)
                             Compared to 25 years ago, I guess not -NT - (drook)
                 Beware of that small root partition - (scoenye) - (2)
                     Remember to clear out the old kernel versions occasionally too -NT - (malraux) - (1)
                         Deleted more than a dozen as soon as I got it to boot again -NT - (drook)

I'm gonna break him like a wedding vow on the Jerry Springer Show.
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