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How can I upgrade a really old Gutsy server to Karmic from the command line?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can't do a direct upgrade from Gutsy to Karmic. You will have to Upgrade one version at a time to Karmic. Ubuntu actually reccomends a fresh install for a system that old, and honestly I do too, you'll run into too many odd issues and missing repositories (since Gutsy is no longer supported) to make in place upgrades really worth the time spent.

Ubuntu's Upgrade documentation has good documentation on going from one version to another.

From the above page here is the EOL upgrade instructions

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It will probably be easier to simply make a full backup, reinstall clean, and then reconfigure the system and restore your data.

There is no supported direct upgrade path. You will need to upgrade from gutsy -> hardy -> intrepid -> jaunty -> karmic.

The general steps you'll want to follow are

  • Do a sudo apt-get update
  • Do a sudo apt-get dist-upgrade (This will update the update-manager-core package which includes do-release-upgrade.
  • Run do-release-upgrade
  • Repeat, above until you are up to karmic

If you don't have a full backup you should make one before you start. A lot of changes have been made between gutsy and karmic. Things are likely to break, and you'll have to adjust configurations to fix things.

If you have used any non-official repositories you should disable those, and note any packages that came from the non-official locations. If you have manually compiled anything you should make sure you have notes for that.

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The official UpgradeNotes from Canonical recommend doing either:

  1. Backup, followed by fresh install with new version
  2. Upgrade through each successive version

They explicitly recommend against skipping versions during an upgrade. Assuming that advice is sound, you have a long road ahead. I would start with looking through the general UpgradeNotes, and then drill down into the individual steps you may have to take.

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As long as you are going to be doing a full backup anyway, the better route may be to just do a fresh install of Karmic.

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This doesn't actually answer your question, but if you upgrade to hardy and wait six months you'll be able to upgrade straight to Lucid. (LTS to LTS direct upgrades are supported)

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I tend to do clean reinstalls (backup / format / install / restore) whenever possible. It's a great opportunity to get rid of all the crap that inevitably accumulates on any system.

Having a clean machine is great.

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