Linux Mint – Why an upgrade utility isn’t included

install phpMyAdmin On CentOS 8

Detractors of Linux Mint will often cite the fact that there is no official upgrade procedure to be a downside that warrants considering other distributions. In enterprise environments, system administrators surely wouldn’t want to reinstall Mint on everyone’s computer every 9 months, especially if it’s a company that has 100 or more computers. To be fair, the lack of an official upgrade procedure is definitely an inconvenience. However, in order to understand why things are this way in Mint, one must look at the bigger picture.

First, upgrading from one operating system to another is almost never a smooth experience. To put it in perspective, with 30,000 or so packages in the repositories, there’s literally no way to test how an upgrade procedure contends with every possible combination of packages that may be installed on one’s system. When developing a distribution, a clean installation would be the most tested process and would have a greater chance of succeeding. With one system being upgraded to another, all it would take is one package to conflict with another and the entire upgrade process would come tumbling down. If the process of upgrading from one system to another fails, you’ll end up in a much worse shape. This problem isn’t specific to Linux, as I’ve seen many Windows upgrades fail in much the same way, and even the ones that succeed, later end up having problems. A clean slate is the best approach.

Second, LTS releases that are supported for 5 years are recommended in business and enterprise environments. If a system administrator works for a company that adopts Linux Mint on their computers, using a non-LTS release would be a bad idea, as they would be creating a lot of unnecessary work in regards to mass reinstallations when a version is obsolete. LTS releases are geared toward environments that need something proven and stable to last a while, with minimal work. For an administrator, creating a deployment image of an LTS release of Mint with preinstalled packages geared toward the overall function of the business would be the best course of action.

Third, consider the subject of compatibility. For example, let’s say there was another way to upgrade, and someone used an official utility in order to do so. The person goes through the process and then reboots the PC hoping that it will be up and running on the new system. Unfortunately, the system won’t boot, and nothing works anymore. If the new version of Mint was incompatible with your computer or contained problems that prevented it from working, you would know as soon as you boot the live media and test it. With an upgrade utility, the program would simply upgrade your system, and you wouldn’t know how your system is going to react until after the process is finished and you reboot it. With a clean installation from an ISO image, a user would be more likely to run into compatibility issues before the upgrade process even begins.

Don’t let the lack of an official upgrade procedure scare you, though. The process that we’ll use in this appendix is surprisingly simple and achieves almost exactly the same result as if there was an official upgrade method. In addition, this method is the most reliable way to go.

Comments are closed.