I was running Ubuntu Bionic (18.04), got reminded a couple of times that a new version Focal (20.04.1) was available.
I have done distributions upgrades before so I said to myself no problem.
Silly me. Read on.
There are a couple of ways of doing an upgrade on Ubuntu (and Linux for that matter). GUI like or CLI so I decided to do it using the Software Update app.
Run the app, checked OS upgrade and we were on the way.
After a few steps and the downloading of required packages, the installation of software started.
Went away to get a cup of coffee, started to watch the Champions League, decided to check on the progress.
Was surprised to see an informational window, it said (I am paraphrasing):
“Error installing package blah… upgrade will continue… you should open a bug report…”
Then I saw, “Package blah was already installed and configured…”
I did not worry since it said the upgrade would continue however, the error appeared several times.
Then I realized what was going on, it was obvious that the latest packages for 18.04 were newer than the 20.04 packages, how could this be?
Well, I do not have an idea but I had the feeling the upgrade was going to fail.
Lo and behold, the process started installing packages then halfway through it, a window appeared.
“The upgrade has failed. A rollback will be done…and it showed a command using dpkg: dpkg –configure -a“. I hit enter and the window closed, nothing happened.
I realized the system may be in an unbootable state, oh my. Tried starting a terminal and could not.
So started a console from the GUI (using CTRL- ALT-F2).
Decided to ssh onto it so I had better control, could not connect.
It was obvious libraries were in a state of flux. So at the console restarted the SSH process and hope I could connect.
I was able to connect. Try several things,
- An apt-get update, it failed.
- An apt-get clean, it also failed.
- An apt-get autoremove it also failed.
It started to look like I would have to reinstall since this system is a media server it was not so bad I just needed to get all the media I had previous to installation.
Decided to try one more thing, issue the following:
sudo apt-get update –fix-missing
This time something happened, it showed me it needed to install some updates so I say yes.
Finally, I could do an apt-get update this time it took and now it showed me that was going to install several packages, over 1000 and I knew it was doing a proper upgrade now.
After taking about 1 hour it finished, rebooted and the system now is Focal.
So the moral of the story is, this is why some say Linux is not ready for prime time.
Ubuntu has had success and their installs and upgrades for me at least had been flawless.
However, what happened to me is unacceptable. Yes, there are situations in which there will be issues. But if you want the wider audience to use Ubuntu in this particular case quality control has to be better.
I have experience using Linux so I was able to navigate the issues, others though that want the OS to work and are not computer savvy will be turned away.
I managed to upgrade to Focal without reinstalling and at least that is a plus.