Ubuntu – A safe way to upgrade over multiple releases without losing installed programs?


I currently have Ubuntu 10.10 installed and I would like to upgrade to 11.10 (i.e. upgrading by two versions).

There are a couple of issues:

Firstly, I have Matlab installed, and I can't install this myself (I need to get it done by
IT support, which can sometimes be quite difficult). So I'll need to keep Matlab installed across upgrades.

Secondly, I have custom drivers installed (the NVidia developer drivers for using CUDA) and I'm not sure if this is a problem. I don't mind reinstalling this however, as they are freely available.

I could click the "upgrade now" button in the update manager, but I will have to do this twice (10.10->11.04->11.10).

Is it possible to put in an Ubuntu 11.10 CD and upgrade my 10.10 install? Will this leave Matlab installed?

Reinstalling and copying over data might not be an option due to my need for Matlab (proprietary software, eh? :P).

Best Answer

Upgrade from CD

You can not upgrade from the desktop CD, but you can using the alternate CD.

See : https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MaverickUpgrades#Upgrading_Using_the_Alternate_CD.2BAC8-DVD

General advice

I think for the most part your question has been answered by Uri, but ...

Upgrading any OS is associated with some risk, upgrades can fail for any number of reasons.

In addition there are some substantial changes from 10.10 to 11.10, so there some risk the upgrade will cause problems.

What makes you think you should upgrade to 11.10 ? What features does 10.10 lack ? What features of 11.10 do you "need"?

Before you upgrade you should:

  1. Read the release notes. https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UpgradeNotes .
  2. Back up your data.
  3. Test your hardware by running the desktop live CD.


In addition, in your case, it sounds as if you need specific applications, Matlab is one. You need to do your homework to determine if it will run in Ubuntu 11.10


suggests this is unsupported. Upgrading to an unsupported version of Ubuntu sounds llike an unwise decision.

What other applications do you need to work in 11.10 ?

IT Dept

You mentioned you have an IT department. IMO you should be asking them for advice as it sounds as if you are expecting their support.

Consider the possibility that it may be easier to go with a fresh install.

Related Question