Updated: July 8, 2022
Operating system upgrades are not a fun activity. Like the annual tax report, or mandatory HR training, you want them done as quickly and smoothly as possible. Over the years, I've found myself mustering less and less patience for everything software, and look at any major system change with a considerable amount of dread. Not the fear that I won't be able to resolve it, but the knowledge that I simply don't have the desire to play with unnecessary things.
On the Linux side of the pond, surprisingly, system upgrades have been relatively smooth. Still, they weren't always perfect. Well, today we need to see how things have changed since my last attempt, on the elderly Vivobook. My guinea pig will be the newish test system, an IdeaPad with its Ryzen processor and NVMe storage, which I use for Linux distro explorations and disappointments. The box runs a triple-boot setup, including one Kubuntu 21.10. And now, we shall nudge that instance to the latest LTS. Begin to commence.
I decided not to do anything special really. Living la vida loca. I started the upgrade on the command line, using the do-release-upgrade command. Most importantly, I also passed the --allow-third-party flag, so that my extra software would be correctly ported, too. This applies to any software that comes from non-default distribution channels, namely any APT repo that was added manually or by Deb installers, like say Chrome, Skype, VirtualBox, or alike. And that's it. Press the button, go.
Time to complete: 15 minutes
I have to say, I was surprised by how quick the whole thing was. You can contrast this with some other other operating systems. But let's stay in the happy zone. From initial repo sources swap to the package cleanup, the whole thing lasted a mere 900 seconds. I did have to press Y a couple of times, but the amount of prompts was minimal, and the questions made sense.
I cycled the system. The Kubuntu instance did take over the bootloader, though - it used to be controlled by Fedora. Now sure how to treat this, but in general, quite often, various distros will sometimes gently hijack the bootloader control from one another, but almost always and without fussing chainload all the other systems on the box sans any problems. This goes back to the early days of GRUB2.
The system launched, and at first glance, everything looked dandy. Even my Plasma session was correctly preserved, including the open windows, tabs in Dolphin, and whatnot. So I started digging, to see whether I could uncover some ugly little misconfiguration here or there. Lo and behold, I couldn't find any.
I tried my WINE programs (another third-party repo), and they all launched and ran just fine. This could have potentially been one of those things that would refuse to run well. The Plasma integration add-on in Firefox, no issue. VirtualBox was working correctly. Everything was in its right spot, working fast and without problems. I desperately tried to summon the grumpy demons inside me, but they wouldn't materialize. A good experience was good.
This is a pretty short article, but then, it's only got positives. My Kubuntu 21.10 upgrade (to 22.04) was the smoothest Linux version bump I've ever done so far. Quite a few of those had gone neatly, but this was the neatest of them all. The process was quick, error-free, all of my programs were correctly carried over and/or reconfigured, including third-party stuff, and there are no side effects whatsoever. The system works phenomenally well (excluding inherent problems in the system's design itself, but that's another story).
I have to say I'm thoroughly pleased, and the last time this happened with Linux was ... quite a while back. If anything, this makes me feel happier and more confident that similar endeavors in the future ought to be equally simple. One can only hope of course, because regressions are never far from Linux everyday affairs. But today, we won, big time. Anyway, let's bring this brief yet sweet report to its end. The upgrade gets a top score. 100%. And we're done.