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I am very new to linux. I recently installed ubuntu 10.04, but I've come to learn that there are newer distribitions... I have already installed and/or configured some software on my current os. If I upgrade to 11.04, will my software be wiped out and I be forced to reinstall all of them, or will they remain unchanged?
Answer is highly appreciated. Thanx in advance... :-)
Some of the software does get replaced. If you've never manually installed it, and it shipped with Ubuntu, there's a chance it could change. For example I think they replaced gthumb with Shotwell, replaced Rhythmbox with Banshee, and a few other things.
I'd do more checking before you think about moving to 11.04.
11.04 is the last version of ubuntu using gnome 2.X, and by default it uses unity (which is not like gnome 2.X at all). So to get a desktop like you are used to you have to select 'Ubuntu Classic Desktop' at the login screen. 11.10 and unwards will not have gnome 2.X at all, and are moving to gnome 3 base.
11.04 end of life is October 2012
10.04 end of life (desktop version) is April 2013
If 10.04 is working for you, its probably easier to just stick with it until you have a reason to upgrade.
Distribution: Debian Wheezy, Jessie, Sid/Experimental, playing with LFS.
Another point no body mentioned is you cannot just upgrade, as in apt-get dist upgrade, from 10.04 to 11.04. 10.04 is an LTS and it will upgrade to 10.10 and the upcoming 12.04 LTS but not jump from 10.04 ignore 10.10 and upgrade to 11.04. Not only that upgrading can be a messy affair with bits and pieces left over that you don't need. You have to do a clean install in which case yes you will wipe your settings on applications that are replaced, such as dudeman mentioned.
MY suggestion would be, download Debian 6 (Squeeze) and do a clean install of it if you choose to move away from Ubuntu 10.04 which is a good system anyway and, as Cascade pointed out, has more support than the other choices mentioned apart from Debian 6.