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View Poll Results: Longest time for your computer without reinstalling Linux
Less than 1 year 8 14.55%
1 year - 2 years 14 25.45%
2 years - 3 years 12 21.82%
3 years - 4 years 8 14.55%
5 years or more 13 23.64%
Voters: 55. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-03-2009, 03:39 PM   #31
Kugelviech
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Well after I started to use Linux a few years ago I did a lot of reinstalls.

First reason was I often "destroyed" Linux since I was new to it and installed some things I shoulndt have (or messing with the Xserver) - and I was too new to Linux to be able to fix it... so I just reinstalled it.

Second reason was the different distros; the first Linux I tried was Knoppix (hardly used it), followed by Mandrivalinux, whose Xserver I destroyed much too often (still I wasnt able to fix it). After switching to openSUSE (which was too sloppy in my opinion) I was recommended Xubuntu. The first installation of Xubuntu was on a USB-Stick, which started to get reading errors and such - reinstallation needed. :/

A month ago I installed Xubuntu on a fresh VeloCiraptor 150GB. And since all Codecs / PlugIns are installed and Xubuntu can read everything, I wont ever mess with drivers and configuration again. Guess I'll use this until the HDD says goodbye, which is at least 5 years.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 05:29 PM   #32
cantab
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Most Linux distributions have such a regular release cycle that you'll never need to perform a reinstallation. Replacing your Ubuntu Jaunty with a fresh install of Karmic is not reinstalling ;-P If there was a new Windows every six months, or even every year, reinstalls would be pretty rare.
The only reason you'd ever NEED to reinstall Linux is if your system gets totally ruined and you don't have a backup.

There are advantages to performing a clean install of a new distro release. It's generally more reliable in my experience, upgrading sometimes goes wrong. It's also an opportunity to get rid of programs you installed and no longer use (that in some cases might be running daemons you don't need). OTOH, you have to reconfigure everything (or manually backup selected configs from the old system and restore them to the new). If you've installed and regularly use a lot of stuff that's not in the distro by default, then a clean install probably won't benefit you.

You don't even need to do a fresh install of Linux if you get new hardware. It's possible transfer a Linux installation from one hard drive or partition to another. You can even transfer it to a different computer (of the same architecture!), whether by copying the data or physically moving the drive, and it will often work. However, you do need to manually change certain config files, so it's not for novices.

For myself, I'm not sure how often I did fresh installs. I was with Ubuntu for 4 years (jumped ship just a few weeks ago). Jaunty - Karmic was an upgrade (and arguably a failure). Intrepid - Jaunty: upgrade. Hardy - Intrepid: probably an upgrade. Fiesty - Hardy...hmm, that might have been a fresh install. Does anyone know how I can find out when an Ubuntu system was originally installed? (I still have my Ubuntu Karmic install to check)

Last edited by cantab; 11-03-2009 at 05:31 PM.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 07:07 PM   #33
DragonSlayer48DX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cantab View Post
Most Linux distributions have such a regular release cycle that you'll never need to perform a reinstallation. Replacing your Ubuntu Jaunty with a fresh install of Karmic is not reinstalling ;-P
I like your way of thinking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cantab View Post
There are advantages to performing a clean install of a new distro release. It's generally more reliable in my experience, upgrading sometimes goes wrong. It's also an opportunity to get rid of programs you installed and no longer use (that in some cases might be running daemons you don't need).
Exactly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cantab View Post
OTOH, you have to reconfigure everything (or manually backup selected configs from the old system and restore them to the new). If you've installed and regularly use a lot of stuff that's not in the distro by default, then a clean install probably won't benefit you.
Never been a problem. Installing an upgraded version of a software package that's in the new distro version's repo is always a plus (and I modify and change themes and other settings quite frequently, as well).


Quote:
Originally Posted by cantab View Post
You don't even need to do a fresh install of Linux if you get new hardware. It's possible transfer a Linux installation from one hard drive or partition to another. You can even transfer it to a different computer (of the same architecture!), whether by copying the data or physically moving the drive, and it will often work. However, you do need to manually change certain config files, so it's not for novices.
[My Story]I recently upgraded my 800MHz PIII Gateway with a larger HDD. To make a long story short, I stuffed the old HDD into a 566MHz Celeron-based Compaq. I booted into Recovery Mode, ran xfix, and in 20 seconds flat, my Gateway installation of Xubuntu was running flawlessly on the Compaq.[/My Story]

While that change may be more 'manual' with other distros, it should be just as easy for anyone who is moderately fluent with how their distro works.

Cheers

Last edited by DragonSlayer48DX; 11-03-2009 at 07:22 PM.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 07:12 PM   #34
DragonSlayer48DX
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Double-posted...

Last edited by DragonSlayer48DX; 11-03-2009 at 07:14 PM.
 
Old 11-03-2009, 08:41 PM   #35
Clachair
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Post

[QUOTE]
Quote:
Originally Posted by xri View Post
One of the many criticisms I've read about Windows is the need to reinstall the system after prolonged use.
Hm. I'm still running Windoze-95 on a 200Mhz Pentium that was installed in 1996.
Update: That machine has Win95 Ver 2 and I was able to get the USB port to work with a webcam. Could it be the only Win95-USB in existence?

I'm not sure when I installed Red Hat 7.2 (server) in a 500mHz Aptiva for the last time after several mis-fires; probably April 2001. It's still driving my server.

Both machines crash during power outages during thunderstorms, but restart without a hitch.

Last edited by Clachair; 11-04-2009 at 07:58 PM. Reason: Update USB Port info
 
Old 11-03-2009, 09:07 PM   #36
DragonSlayer48DX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clachair View Post
Hm. I'm still running Windoze-95 on a 200Mhz Pentium that was installed in 1996.
That's because 95 was the only decent version MS wrote. (There's a reason why it had to be replaced in only 3 years-- $$$!)

Previous versions (before the release of DOS 6.0) had to be reinstalled to clean up the drive (there was no defragmenter).

Later versions had to be reinstalled to clean up the drive (for some reason, the system folders just kept growing, and growing, and growing...)
 
Old 11-03-2009, 10:21 PM   #37
allanf
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I use Gentoo and keep my system up-to-date no need to reinstall. I also keep a mirrored copy (at two week intervals) so if I fail to migrate to newer hard drive before a crash I can swap to the mirrored copy than apply the deltas. This does not mean that I have not installed Linux for years (as I have installed Linux on Lab machines many times, helped others install Linux on machines but they tend to be Fedora).
 
Old 11-04-2009, 05:52 AM   #38
Shadow_7
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I've had a linux router up for 400+ days. These days though with new construction in the area, I only get about 180 days between interruptions in power. I've had several machines with 3+ year old installs.

I rarely re-install. But I do a new install of the next generation when the upgrade path becomes too muddled to do by sane/traditional means. And every now and then I swap out the harddrives for something bigger, and just copy the current install over to the new harddrive. Not technically a re-install, but the filesystem is recreated.

As far as windows, with faster computers the initial install takes a relatively short amount of time. BUT... I generally spend a week plus after the fact on that OS uninstalling the junk, reconfiguring the applications and OS to the way that I want them, and just downloading updates / 3rd party drivers and rebooting every thirty seconds. Most linux installs I can do in as little as 3 reboots. 1x - Install + reboot to boot the new installation / 2x - install a boot loader and boot using it. / 3x - upgrade the kernel and reboot using new bootloader configuration. And sometimes a 4th just to make sure it's all good, M$ force of habbit really.

Although for my laptop, I tend to have a lot of stuff installed, but remove their /etc/rc?.d/ entries so they don't run at boot. And I'll reboot after an upgrade to see what got reactivated. Remove those from that list again, and reboot again to ensure that it's as I want. I must have optimimum boot times for when I'm running on battery mode to leach some WiFi hotspots bandwidth. But rebooting is not the same as reinstalling. A lot of times I just end up copying my current install onto new hardware when I get a new computer, technically an installation of sorts, but not really. It's just so damn easy to do in linux.
 
Old 11-04-2009, 06:37 AM   #39
jlinkels
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Actually, I don't know. Whenever possible I don't re-install, except after a hard disk failure. I don't keep backups of workstations, so if one crashes I have to re-install.

I have several machines which were installed when Debian Sarge was still testing and upgraded thereafter.

When a new Debian version becomes Stable, I usually do a dist-upgrade. For critical servers (but you asked for workstations) I usually install a new box from scratch and transfer the tasks and the services so I am able to work in shadow configuration for some time.

It is very important to realize that Linux systems do not need a regular re-installation to feel 'fresh and clean'. No matter how much you installed and uninstalled, Linux systems do not become cluttered.

This contrary to Windows systems, which do get slower as time passes by. Don't ask me what the exact reason is, it might be the registry, viruses scanners, malware etc. Theoretically you could buy(!) or use one of the zillion shareware cleaning programs which are around. Either those do not clean well, remove critical parts which you didn't want to be removed in the first place or install malware. For Windows systems I always felt that a 2-year re-installation cycle was appropriate.

jlinkels
 
Old 11-04-2009, 08:17 AM   #40
markush
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Hello together,

I once had winxp installed and used it for about 2 years. It was a 50GB Partition and when I decided to delete Windows I deinstalled everything. All Programms, all drivers, all updates, then I ran a disk-cleaning-programm and a defragmentation. After this all I had 9.7 GB data on the partition for only winxp. A new installation of winxp covers less than 1GB.

Markus
 
Old 11-05-2009, 07:13 AM   #41
archtoad6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archtoad6 View Post
I ran SmoothWall Express on an old PII box w/ about 128MB of RAM until the magic smoke escaped from the pwr. supply. (I actually saw the magic smoke escape. )
Come to think of it, I still have my 1st Linux workstation -- an old PII box w/ RH 7.2 on it; but should it count if I almost never use it any more. At one time I had set up to be the dial-up gateway & router for our then 2 box LAN. The install dates from 2001.

My girlfriend still runs 2k (when did "Winders" become part of this discussion) off a transplanted SCSI drive I was given, I have no idea how old the install is, probably 2000.

That one will be run as long as it's supported & beyond. I probably won't replace it 'til I think it's a serious security risk in its context:
  • the age & surfing habits of the owner,
  • the effectiveness of the perimeter firewall,
  • the working s/w in use,
  • the protective s/w installed,
  • threats reported on SANS NewsBites & elsewhere,
  • my patience w/ M$,
  • & finally, a successful infection.
When the time comes, it's supposed to be, "Switch to Linux or find a new tech."
 
  


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