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Linux Mint working on a new upgrade tool for major releases

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Linux Mint, the distribution that tries to set itself apart for beginners (but not only) along with their own Cinnamon desktop environment, have some plans to help users upgrade.

Jumping between small releases is currently fine, since Linux Mint sticks to the same Ubuntu package base. However, upgrading to a new major version can be a hassle. Thankfully, they're working on solving this issue with a brand new upgrade tool in the works.

Compared with the existing upgrade tool these are the main features:

  • It’s fully graphical, no command line.
  • It’s localized (the existing tool is only in English).
  • It performs more checks to make sure everything is fine (for instance it checks that you are connected to AC power, free space vs download size, list of removed packages etc..).
  • It’s configurable (even though you really shouldn’t skip anything, it does allow you to disable some requirements, such as the presence of a Timeshift snapshot).
  • It preserves your choice of mirrors (it checks to see if they’re compatible, responsive and up to date)
  • It doesn’t force you to remove your custom repositories and PPAs (it checks whether or not they support the target release though)
  • It warns but lets you keep orphaned packages (packages which aren’t present in repositories)
  • It provides and handles solutions (for most detected issues, along with the explanation you’ll just need to click a “Fix” button to solve the issue).

They also said it's the "number one priority" this current development cycle, and they will be using it for people who jump between the LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) versions 4 and 5 first and then later for Linux Mint 20.3 to Linux Mint 21. It makes sense to use it on the lesser used version to help iron out any kinks.

Additionally, Linux Mint 21 is codenamed "Vanessa" and it will be based on Ubuntu 22.04 and support 3 editions: Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce.

Eagle-eyed viewers will also spot a video created by a certain person (me) in the blog post.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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26 comments
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mr-victory Apr 9, 2022
Quoting: Schattenspiegelthe ability to run the file-browser as root
It is also possible on KDE's file manager.
Schattenspiegel Apr 9, 2022
Quoting: Pendragonwhoa! This might actually keep me on Mint if this goes right! .. Having to do a fresh install to upgrade from 19.3 was making me NOT interested in continuing
There was not really a need for that. There is an upgrade path available between major version. It usually is made public a a few days after the .ISO on the release announcement page.
Should you still be on 19.3 you will have to upgrade to 20.x first before going to 21.04, though, if you want go that route.

Quoting: mr-victory
Quoting: Schattenspiegelthe ability to run the file-browser as root
It is also possible on KDE's file manager.
Oh, is that finally implemented without hacks? Good to know.


Last edited by Schattenspiegel on 9 April 2022 at 5:44 am UTC
ghiuma Apr 9, 2022
One of my favorite distributions, too bad it doesn't come with Gnome3 by default... For me Gnome is the best DE for gamers...
Purple Library Guy Apr 9, 2022
This is great! Upgrading was always the thing I found most problematic about Mint. And it frustrated me because I'd experienced fairly seamless upgrading at least some of the time with Mandrake/Mandriva, so I know it's possible.
But we'll see . . . past Mint upgrade-related tools have been a bit iffy. I'm certainly not going to stop keeping /home on a separate partition!
akselmo Apr 9, 2022
Quoting: ronnoc
Quoting: akselmoMint is, well, mint! :D I just would like to see a KDE spin of it, with all the basic KDE stuff preinstalled.

There used to be Linux Mint KDE, but alas it was really designed and maintained by one main (unpaid) volunteer. IIRC, once he could no longer support Mint's KDE spin, Clem dropped it like a hot potato. Was a great KDE distro, as it used KDE-themed versions of all of Mint's artwork. I left Mint for Kubuntu at that point, and use Neon today.

Honestly, if Mint were to deploy a KDE version today, it would likely be indistinguishable from Kubuntu, as all of the tools and apps that are unique to Mint are and will ALWAYS BE GTK-based.

Oh, TIL! And makes sense I suppose. I am using Kubuntu now and I'm really happy with it, but I've always had a very soft spot in my heart for Linux Mint, it was one of my first distros among the default Ubuntu flavor.
MiZoG Apr 9, 2022
I've upgraded my mint boxes from one point release to another without hiccups but I went for fresh installs with every new major upgrade by choice. Backed up a few config files, caches and profiles from my home directory, restored em et voila. Still this new update manager makes perfectly sense with Mint philosophy. Users should be able to avoid reinstalling afresh their systems and upgrade seamlessly to new major releases.
Pendragon Apr 9, 2022
Quoting: Schattenspiegel
Quoting: Pendragonwhoa! This might actually keep me on Mint if this goes right! .. Having to do a fresh install to upgrade from 19.3 was making me NOT interested in continuing
There was not really a need for that. There is an upgrade path available between major version. It usually is made public a a few days after the .ISO on the release announcement page.
Should you still be on 19.3 you will have to upgrade to 20.x first before going to 21.04, though, if you want go that route.

Yeah, I know there's a way to do it without a full-install .. but when I was doing research for common issues, etc just to be thorough, all the solutions seemed to boil down to "just do a fresh install" ...
iiari Apr 10, 2022
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Having been on Arch based distros a number of years now, I can't believe in 2022 there are still distros like Mint and I'm guessing Elementary where full reinstalls are necessary for version upgrades? Wow....
Schattenspiegel Apr 10, 2022
Quoting: iiari...I can't believe in 2022 there are still distros like Mint and I'm guessing Elementary where full reinstalls are necessary for version upgrades? Wow....
They are not and have not been for years.
tuubi Apr 10, 2022
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Mint's major version upgrade process has been okay on the few systems I've gone through it, but a better tool certainly won't hurt. The previous one was basically a collection of rather clunky scripts. On my own systems I like to do a reinstall once every couple of years anyway. I think of it as a biennial* spring cleaning of sorts. I tweak my partition setup if needed, decide on whatever custom configuration I want to carry over etc. Honestly, it doesn't even take that much longer than an upgrade.

That said, I'll definitely give this tool a try.

Quoting: Purple Library GuyBut we'll see . . . past Mint upgrade-related tools have been a bit iffy. I'm certainly not going to stop keeping /home on a separate partition!
I'd say having a separate home partition is a good idea regardless of the distro.

EDIT: bi-annual? biennial? Whatever means once every two years. :D


Last edited by tuubi on 10 April 2022 at 8:18 am UTC
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