Yesterday, I decided to try to upgrade one of my Ubuntu 7.10 systems to Ubuntu 8.04 Beta, which is scheduled to be released in 19 days. I had no guarantee things would go smooth, but I decided to go ahead and risk it anyway, even though I have been warned that it may cause a serious problem for me and I was aware of potential bugs. And after this recent experience, I would recommend you not waste your time doing something like this. Those who have had luck have usually installed 8.04 Beta fresh from a CD on an empty system. I, on the other hand, wanted to try upgrading, and upon hitting this snag, I ended up digging myself into a hole by trying to work around the problem.
Upgrade from Hardy to Gutsy? That sounds pretty ass backwards. What’s going on here? Ha ha ha, at least I think I’m in a hole… I can tell that some things have updated and it looks like I am actually running 8.04… But certain programs aren’t working. I’ve decided to reinstall Ubuntu and start fresh for a change. So today, I’m going to talk specifically about reinstalling Ubuntu.
Preparing to Reinstall Ubuntu (and how it’s easier than reinstalling Windows)
If you’re a long time Windows user, you’ve probably reinstalled your operating system at least once. The routine you typically go through begins with you backing up all of your music, videos (porn?), documents and personal files. Then boot from your XP installation CD, select the hard drive you want the OS to reside on and format the drive before installing your fresh copy of XP. Then after that, there’s the system update>reboot>update>reboot tango, then reinstalling your third party anti-virus software, firewall, spyware remover, perhaps Firefox and a whole mess of other applications, installing them one at a time… (deep breath) And STILL! after that software is installed, you’ve got to import your e-mail settings and folders, Internet Favorites (Firefox bookmarks), blah blah blah blah blah! Man…that sound like it can be really time consuming (how do you Windows users put up with this nonsense?). There is software out there that will do almost all of this for you automatically, and it’s a little pricey.
How would you do this with Ubuntu? Simple! You just backup your Home Folder.
In Ubuntu, the Home Folder is kind of like the My Documents folder in Windows, but much more. Sure, it holds some of your data files for you but it also contains a bunch of hidden folders that hold personal preferences and settings for every program on your computer. To see what I’m talking about, try the following:
- Open your Home Folder (Places>Home Folder)
- Press CTRL-H to reveal Hidden Files
Inside your Home Folder, you’ll see many folders that begin with a period. For example, there is a folder for Evolution called “.evolution”. There is a folder for Firefox called “.mozilla”. If I wanted to backup the preferences for just those two applications, all I would have to do is copy those two folders to a backup drive, and after reinstalling Ubuntu, copy those two folders back into my new Home Folder. Really, that’s all you have to do!
The other great thing that you’ll be able to do that Windows users can’t do is install multiple applications at once using either Add/Remove or Synaptic Package Manager. You’ll also get updates for every piece of software on your computer installed automatically with the update manager all at once too. All of these features found in Ubuntu Linux are a huge time saver, especially when compared to how much time you could spend reinstalling XP and securing it.
And they say Linux is complicated…
Tip: It’s probably best to keep backup-restore copies of your home folder in alignment with your version number. Meaning, what I’m about to do (copy an Ubuntu version 7.10 home folder over top of my 8.04 Beta home folder) may be a bad idea. I’ll let you know tomorrow, after I’ve installed a fresh copy of Hardy Heron.
Saturday, April 5th, 2008