Xubuntu upgrade: from Heron to Ibex

Usually I install Xubuntu afresh when a new release arrives. This time along, though, I felt like upgrading from Xubuntu 8.04 to Xubuntu 8.10.

The first thing to consider is that Xubuntu 8.04 is a “Long Term Support” release, meaning that it’ll receive security updates for a longer period of time than normal releases. Thus, people using this version won’t need to upgrade Xubuntu every six months when a new version is released. The consequence is that you will not be notified of a new normal release when it arrives.

In order to be able to start the upgrade process, you’ll need to start the Software Sources application from Applications->System. In that application, under the Updates tab, you can select which new distribution releases you want to be notified of at the bottom. By default, this is set to Long term support releases only, but to upgrade to Xubuntu 8.10 you’ll want to set this to Normal releases.



With that set, when you start the Update Manager (Applications->System), you will be notified that a new distribution release is available. To start the upgrade process, just click the Upgrade button on top.



This will then pop up a screen containing the release notes of the new release, which unfortunately are Ubuntu-specific.



After confirming that you want to upgrade, Xubuntu will download an upgrade tool. It will start preparing the upgrade and will update your software sources to make sure you will be downloading software for the newer version. No need to worry though: if you press Cancel, the original configuration will be restored and any other edits the tool might have made will be reverted.





When information has been gathered about the upgrade, a new confirmation window will appear providing an overview of what is going to be done and giving you another chance to back off if you got scared. It also advises you to close all open applications to prevent loss of data – wise words indeed.

Of course, it is always recommended to make a backup of important documents and settings before you upgrade.



Before the upgrade could continue, a window popped up informing me that the (proprietary) driver for my graphics card was no longer available in the new version, giving me another chance to abort the upgrade. I opted to continue and take the risk of losing my shiny desktop effects (due to needing to use the open source driver), but was relieved to find that they still worked after the upgrade – I did not even need to redo the steps to install Compiz in Xubuntu. That said, this does not mean I recommend you to ignore the warning – I have too little knowledge of graphics cards and their drivers to be giving sensible advise on that.



The upgrade tool will then start downloading the packages of the new version. This will take a while (essentially it’s downloading new versions of most of your applications in their entirety) – the final stage in which you will still have the option to cancel the upgrade. Isn’t that great? :)



With the packages downloaded, the tool will start installing them – from this point on there’s no going back!





During the installation of the new packages, you might get some questions about newer configuration files overwriting older ones (I got most of these at the end of this process, so you can make yourself some coffee while it’s installing the bulk of new packages ;) ). In most cases, you’ll probably want the new one unless you recognise the file and know that you need the alterations you made to that file. Going with the default options is often sensible as well.





When the new versions are installed, the upgrade tool will try to remove as much cruft as it can find.







Finally, the upgrade process is almost complete – all it needs you to do to finish it off is to restart your computer and cross your fingers that the upgrade went smoothly and your system is still usable.



As said, I had been warned that the driver for my graphics card was no longer available, but luckily the Hardware Drivers application (Applications->System) pointed out that another proprietary driver was available that allowed me to enable Compiz again.



All in all, the upgrade was a generally a pleasing experience to me, and I hope and expect you will feel the same.

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10 Responses to “Xubuntu upgrade: from Heron to Ibex”


  1. 1 xubuntu 30 November 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Download speed: 581 kb/s? I’m very jealous indeed. :(

  2. 2 Vincent 30 November 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Heh, I guess my internet connection isn’t that bad… If it’s working ;)

  3. 3 Digiplace 30 November 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Ik zou graag wat screenshots willen zien van je desktop. Hoe ziet het er uit met jouw theme. Met wat open schermen voor icons etc. Kan dat? :-)

  4. 4 Vincent 30 November 2008 at 11:35 pm

    @Jos – as you wish, maar ik heb niet heel erg gecustomized hoor. Ik gebruik het Murrina-BlueGrey GTK-thema, maar die lijkt echt heel erg op het standaard-thema van Xubuntu (MurrinaStormCloud). Hoe dan ook, ik heb pas een screenshot met de expose-achtige modus aan gemaakt, en zojuist een gewone screenshot (een beetje rommelig omdat ik pictogrammen enzo moest laten zien).

  5. 5 Karel 1 December 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Ik heb enkele dagen geleden ook de overstap gemaakt via Ubuntu 8.04 naar 8.10. Het proces is gelijklopend met het jouwe. Alleen heb ik de drivers voor nvidia niet meer aan de praat gekregen met de nieuwe hardware drivers. Ik vrees dat ik daarvoor nog even zal moeten wachten op aangepaste drivers voor mijn oude Geforce4 MX440.

  6. 6 Shelly Hamm 4 December 2008 at 5:38 am

    Thank you, are you in the running to be the next Steve Gibson? Very wordy and too many screen shots, just like his website.

  7. 7 Vincent 4 December 2008 at 6:26 pm

    @Karel – ik duim voor je ;)

    @Shelly – I never heard of Steve Gibson before. However, I’ll admit my latest post have become a bit lame… I’d like to do more useful tips and tricks but I guess I haven’t bumped across many for a while. Then, when I do an upgrade, I feel like it would be a waste not writing a blog post about it. I’ve also discarded a lot of screenshots, but I supposed I’d better include too many than too few. I’ve always been way too wordy though ;)

    That said, I expect to be doing some more useful posts when I start using Xfce 4.6 :)

  8. 8 cjaramillo1308 31 December 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Hey your blog is very useful, i’m making one of my own but in spanish…

    i think xubuntu needs more information in internet and it needs to be more known, like i already said thnaks for your blog, and i really think it will be useful when i make posts about Compiz.

    By the way the blog is http://blogxubuntu.blogspot.com

  9. 9 derl 3 February 2009 at 8:20 am

    i tried installing 8.10 on a old compaq but it froze during the installation

  10. 10 Vincent 3 February 2009 at 4:33 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that derl – though it might happen that it seems to stall when there’s e.g. no internet connection, while it’s really just taking long. Anyway, you could try installing using the Alternate Install CD (see the download pages) or perhaps, if you are using Windows, through Wubi.


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