Why upgrade your OS if you don’t need to?

Two weeks ago I had nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon. Geeky as I am, I thought “let’s upgrade Xubuntu” on my laptop. I was still on the 16.04 Long Term Support version and it is 2018 by now, after all. A month or so later the new LTS version, 18.04, would appear, but why wait? That afternoon I had nothing better to do; when the new version comes out, I probably will be occupied. As usual, I googled around about a version upgrade from 16.04 to 17.10 and was, by every single site I encountered on the topic, strongly advised not to try this. But alas, I’m as stubborn as data scientists get and went ahead anyway.

Ouch. There seemed to be no problem at all. The upgrade was fine, except for some small weird looking error from LibreOffice, which I hardly ever use anyway. Everything worked as it worked before, even with the same looks (then why would you upgrade, right?). I played a game of Go for a bit and then went and let all other software do their updates as well. The usual reboot went blazing fast. I was prompted for my password and then the shit hit the fan: black screen. Nothing. Light from under the keyboard, but that was the only sign of life.

That is when you all of a sudden need a second computer. In all my confidence I had not created a bootable USB stick before the upgrade, and I didn’t have an older one with me either. With a terribly slow and annoying Windows laptop I managed to create one and booted the laptop from that. All fine. Good, so let’s replace the new and corrupted OS with something from this stick. Apparently, when I previously had installed my laptop, there seemed to be no need for a mount point for /efi, and now there was. Annoyingly, this needed to be at the start of the partition table, screwing up pre-existing partitions on that disk. At that point I decided: alright, format the disk, decently partition the disk and a fresh install would make my dear laptop all young and fresh again. There are two SSDs in the machine, and there was a back up of my home on the second disk.

The new install works like a charm, and restoring a back up also calls for some more cleaning up. It all looks tidy again.

I know, not everybody will be a fan of the old-school conky stuff on the desktop, but it just tickles my inner nerd a bit (and I actually do use it to monitor the performance when something heavy is running, I sure like it better than a top screen!). Took a decent part of a day, altogether, so next time I might take the advise of fellow geeks a bit more seriously. On the other hand, after mounting the second disk and finding the backups intact, the short moment of relief is worth it.

Off we go with a clean machine!

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