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We are running a pretty vanilla ubuntu server for web hosting and email. I am wondering what the pros are of upgrading to 10.04 of ubuntu? Any risks involved?

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migrated from Oct 7 '10 at 13:16

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Test it out in a virtual machine before you take down a production server. – Chris Oct 7 '10 at 17:54

If you're not doing a lot of custom tweaks here and there, problems should be few during upgrade. That doesn't mean that there's any guarantee.

If you don't really need any of the new features provided in the new version, you're probably better of staying where you are (as long as Ubuntu provide security updates)

I would, though, recommend landing on an LTS-release, as these provide security updates for a prolonged period of time (5 years for servers)

I would check out the release notes for 9.10 and 10.04, this way you can at least see how much the upgraded version will affect your setup. In addition there's the possibility of incompatible configs, but that's a different story.

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10.4 is an long term support (LTS) version. You may want to upgrade to it so you have support for a longer period. 10.10 will be on the normal shorter lifecyble. For your usage you are likely best of using LTS versions and upgrading every two years.

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10.10 is released in three days, upgrading now to 10.04 might be a waste of time.

As for should you do it/risks:

  • Do you still get security fixes for 9.04? (couldn't find anything on the website). If so, you don't have to upgrade. If 9.04 is phased out, you should upgrade immediately to 10.04 and to 10.10 next week. Oh wait, your server might already be owned by some hacker for a while. No need to hurry all of a sudden ... :-)

  • Do you use some unusual software? If you just installed what comes with the distribution, then the upgrade should be pretty simple and painless.

  • If that a normal PC or some special customized hardware? Boot the system with a live CD to see if everything is still supported.

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10.10 doesn't provide LTS. For server, 10.04 is better – nanda Oct 7 '10 at 13:17
9.04 doesn't provide LTS either, so that doesn't seem to be an issue for the OP – Aaron Digulla Oct 7 '10 at 13:23

Don't bother unless you actually need something you can't obtain easily (such as requiring an updated libc or kernel) in order to manually updated packages you need. Ubuntu 9.04 was one of the better releases, and there is little reason to upgrade servers except when you have to.

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Unless you need something you can't obtain easily, like long-term support? – gWaldo Oct 7 '10 at 16:59
@gWaldo: Of course. If support is running out for 9.04, then upgrade. – Matt Joiner Mar 2 '11 at 7:58

The only thing I've encountered while upgrading servers are Samba with AD-intergration suddenly dying (because of incompabilities with Likewise-open). Other than that it's been all good.

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Upgrading is always taking a risk.

Versions change, sometimes new configuration files are not compatible with the old ones. Sometimes, while features are added new bugs appear... and sometimes features that used to work are broken...

Usually one wants to update frequently when Ubuntu is used as a regular desktop (multimedia features, etc...). But a server does not need usually to have the latest improvements.

Moreover, if upgrade there is, I would wait a few weeks after the launch of the 10.10, since there are usually nasty bugs coming with the freshest version that

  • render the update not really smooth (it happens)
  • expose the server to some risks (security and/or functionalities)

(10.04 was stable after the 10.04.1 was out)

Finally, for a server, you want security first. For that you should install a Long Time Support version: 5 years of support and updates for a server.

The last one was 10.04(.4) - I recommend to install this one.

(The next one is likely to be 12.04, April 2012)

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10.04, the last LTS version from Ubuntu, is the most stable and recommendable version of Ubuntu for a server at this time, IMHO

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I would upgrade simply to get the security of a long term support release. One item that I have noticed that may be an issue is with 10.04 the version of PHP is 5.3 instead of 5.2. If you have any sites running Magento they will need to be patched as Magento by default does not work well with PHP 5.3.

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