Ubuntu – What does “upgrade to 18.04” mean


I'm using Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on an Asus K53E laptop with 8 GB RAM. I check for updates to the software daily. If there are no updates, it asks me if I want to upgrade? What does upgrade exactly mean? Will my personal files still be there? Will it wipe EVERYTHING and give me a completely new installation of Ubuntu? Or will it allow me to keep my files and applications, and merely upgrade the OS?

When I upgrade my Mac or Windows machines, my personal files remain available after the upgrade. Does Ubuntu do the same, or are there completely different "rules"?

Best Answer

What does “dist-upgrade” mean?

It upgrades current OS and installed programs
The process does not affect personal data stored in /home folder
The process will not upgrade the OS version, will not wipe data or settings
It is safe to run it
As you can guess, a backup of personal files is not specially required before an sudo apt dist-upgrade but recommended for general use.

From apt-get manual:

   dist-upgrade in addition to performing the function of upgrade,
   also intelligently handles changing dependencies with new versions
   of packages; apt-get has a "smart" conflict resolution system, and
   it will attempt to upgrade the most important packages at the
   expense of less important ones if necessary. So, dist-upgrade
   command may remove some packages. The /etc/apt/sources.list file
   contains a list of locations from which to retrieve desired package
   files. See also apt_preferences(5) for a mechanism for overriding
   the general settings for individual packages.