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Upgrading Ubuntu from 8.10 to 10.04

January 30, 2010

My old Sony Vaio desktop in the basement is still happily running Ubuntu 8.4…. I’ve mostly been using it to play Urban Terror lately. But tonight I intend to upgrade it to the Alpha 2 pre-release of Ubuntu 10.4 Lucid. I’ve been so impressed with Tomboy these days and how I can sync my notes across multiple computers using my UbuntuOne account. In order to do that I need the newer version of Tomboy… and well… why not just upgrade my old desktop to the most bleeding edge version of Ubuntu?

The last time I installed Ubuntu on this computer, I had made two separate partitions, one for the OS and the other for my /home files. This is a good idea because it makes doing upgrades much easier. The Ubuntu version on the box has not been updated in quite some time, so it would be a waste of time to try and download all the updates and upgrades. I’ve downloaded the daily build ISO of Lucid and have installed it on a USB memory stick using System–>Administration–>Create a USB startup disk.

One additional chore involved after installing the newer version onto my root partition is reinstalling any additional packages that I had. There aren’t that many so this step should go pretty fast. So after I post this, I’ll install Lucid and get back to you on how my upgrade turned out. I’m interested in seeing how fast the boot time of Lucid is currently. The developers have intended to achieve a blazing fast 10 second boot time on a Dell 9 Mini netbook. Here goes!

—> An hour later….

Ok Done! Here’s what happened. My first challenge was figuring out what keys to press to get into the boot menus. After finding it was f11, I found this machine was old enough that booting by USB didn’t seem to be supported. So I ended up just burning it to CD-R and installing it over my old root partition using the custom install options. I also chose to use EXT4 this time for root, and careful keep my home partition the same. During the install it asked for my user name and password, and voila upon reboot everything was there on my desktop just as I left it.

Boot time WAS in fact, UNBELIEVABLY faster than ever! In general this version seems to just fly, fast, like I’ve never seen before. I just thought this old P4 system was slow, but it moves so much faster now. From opening files in the desktop, to firefox surfing the web or playing games with a lower ping. This new version of Ubuntu looks rather promising.

A couple snags I’ve noticed so far – not surprising considering this is only an Alpha 2 release – is the NVIDIA drivers that were automatically detected didn’t work, so I had to add a different repository and install more recent drivers from there.

Oh, and I also now have access to my UbuntuOne and can sync my tomboy notes from my netbook to my desktop.

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