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-   -   When does it make sense to just install a new distro? (https://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-newbie-8/when-does-it-make-sense-to-just-install-a-new-distro-53147/)

Linus VanPelt 04-02-2003 10:04 PM

When does it make sense to just install a new distro?
 
I'm using Mandrake 8.0, and want to install some cool stuff like the latest versions of KDE and gnucash. OK, I know gnucash isn't "cool", but you get my drift. In trying to install both these packages, I've been so frustrated with the library dependency error messages that I've just given up.

So I have two questions:

1. When is it advisable to just upgrade the distro rather than updating all the dependent libraries? I am running 8.0 right now which I purchased back in August 2001.

2. When you upgrade the distribution, are you starting from scratch - ie you lose all your installed software and your home files?

cuckoopint 04-02-2003 10:15 PM

1. Seems that the rpm based distros have some real dependency problems once in a while, and it is often easier to reinstall. To avoid such problems, one could install everything from source, or get a distro like Debian (it does complete/partial upgrades without choking at all - install once, upgrade whenever)

2. For upgrading, there should be no problems (see above). But it never hurts to backup. As for reinstalling, you usually won;t lose the data if you keep it on seperate partitions, and simply don't mention those partitions during (re)install.

pilot1 04-03-2003 07:29 AM

1. If your having trouble upgrading the librarys it's usually much easier to just upgrade the distro. If you don't have a CD-RW drive I know Mandrake will let you download the ISOs to your hard drive, and then boot with a boot disk that starts the install from the ISOs. They have directions on their website.

2. No, i'm not sure about all the distros but I know that Mandrake and RedHat both have an upgrade option which keeps your existing settings and files.

fsbooks 04-03-2003 08:37 AM

It makes sense to install a new distro when you have outgrown the one you are with. Or if you have investigated the new distro and see some great advantages. I would suggest that when installing a new distro it makes sens to install it in addition to your current distro (multi-boot) rather than overtop of it. /home and certain other filesystems can be shared in one degree or another if you have them as separate partitions.

I would suspect that every distro has dependency problems. So far with RH, I have not run into any that cannot be solved. Sometimes of course, the easiest way around the dependency problem is building from source.

Please note that I am not an installation advocate. My RH7.3 system has been upgraded overtime from RH5.2. More and more of the software applications I use have been self-compiled (/usr/local is 40% the size of /usr). I use RH not because I think it is necessarily the best, but because it is now generally configured the way I want and I know how it works well enough that I can solve problems with the CLI. Switching distros all the time may have (or may not have) gotten me a better distro, but I would not know how to use it as well.

MasterC 04-03-2003 08:45 AM

When you install Mandrake, you have the option to "upgrade packages only" which keeps the old stuff in place. However, this is really not a great idea if you are going to jump to 9.0 Basically everything in 9.0+ was compiled using a newer, different gcc version. This might (probably) cause some problems with compling and such. However, if you want to give it a go, as long as you've backed everything up you should be fine.

As for when?

Well I'd say only after *Major* new releases. So for you, when Mandrake went from 8.x to 9.x then that would be when I'd suggest an upgrade. For the .1 .2 and so on releases an "update" would suffice with packages and all. Another school of thought is "only when a security hole is found". You don't have to update everytime there is one. As long as your system does what you want, works with the apps you want, and is secure, you are fine. Maybe just learning how to compile some large (such as gcc or kde3) apps will help you see that you really won't ever have to upgrade your distro.

:)

Cool

tcaptain 04-03-2003 09:22 AM

Also, if you're consciensious with your backups, you can safely install a new distro from scratch and restore your /home directory. That way you don't lose your personal stuff, config files etc.

For myself, when I decide to change distro (like when I upgraded to 9.1) I backed up most of my /home directory (I only have one user so its easy for me, this would be a pain for a server with dozens of users) but only the folders on the apps I use (like evolution and stuff like that) and I didn't back up stuff like the window manager folders (.kde and the like). I backed up my modules.conf because I have some weirdo settings to get my sound to work on the laptop and then I completely wiped the drive, did a clean install, and then restored my backups.

That worked fine. It'll be even easier now because I wiped windows and re-partitionned to make /home a separate partition.

Linus VanPelt 04-03-2003 03:19 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by tcaptain
Also, if you're consciensious with your backups, you can safely install a new distro from scratch and restore your /home directory. That way you don't lose your personal stuff, config files etc.

For myself, when I decide to change distro (like when I upgraded to 9.1) I backed up most of my /home directory (I only have one user so its easy for me, this would be a pain for a server with dozens of users) but only the folders on the apps I use (like evolution and stuff like that) and I didn't back up stuff like the window manager folders (.kde and the like). I backed up my modules.conf because I have some weirdo settings to get my sound to work on the laptop and then I completely wiped the drive, did a clean install, and then restored my backups.

That worked fine. It'll be even easier now because I wiped windows and re-partitionned to make /home a separate partition.

Update - ok, thinking that I am going to move in the direction of doing the upgrade, but what should I back up? If I back up /home, then do I get most of my configuration stuff taken care of (look + feel)

I don't have a burner, but I have an FTP site with about 10M of storage, so I guess I could gzip or tar my home directory and upload it, then download when I do my new installation.

doublefailure 04-03-2003 03:44 PM

/home /usr/local /etc
covers most of files u want to preserve

so, as other ppl suggested, it's good to have seperate partition for
/home /usr/local
(but not /etc .. for some reason)

/home has configuration files for each user and data files supposedly.
/etc holds config file for all users and system.

occasionally some config are under different directory like /usr/X11
and you will have to deal with that. but most likely you won't need to worry about it

onurb 04-03-2003 03:51 PM

For Mandrake the golden rule is: do a clean install, do not use the upgrade function from the installer ! Saves you a lot of troubles.
Download the new 9.1 and re-do your look and feel and configuration.
KDE and Gnome versions are to different, so the config files won't fit.
Have fun.

Bruno

tcaptain 04-03-2003 06:15 PM

I wouldn't have thought about /usr/local, simply because I've never found config files in there.

I mean unless you have some custom software or something you want to save. My idea is that its better to save home, with whatever you need from /etc (rather than all of it as syntax CAN change sometimes from version to version of different programs)...then install everything from scratch and move back in your configs one at a time.

But as I said, that's how I'd do it...its not the only way, not even the best way...just my way :D

The trick tho, and I'm certain everyone will agree, is to take your time BEFORE starting anything, make notes if you have to, but basically account for everything you want to keep.

For example for me:

- evolution mailbox (no prob...in /home)
- wallpaper gfx (also in /home..so far so good)
- xmame roms (uh-oh, they're in /usr/local...so I back them up into my /home :D )
- mp3...backed up on my server
- modules config (lan, soundcard etc.) (copy modules.conf to my /home partition)

etc....

once I'm done...THEN I start and wipe it all clean. I've lost WAYYYY too much stuff just being impatient and doing an install, I've learned the hard way.


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