I recently upgraded my Ubuntu workstation at my office to the most recent version of the famous Linux based operating system. All in all it was a breeze and about one hour after initiating the upgrade, I found myself working again normally.

I would like to take you screen by screen (screens are made from the German version) through the upgrade process:

First be sure to be up to date with all the latest updates for Ubuntu 11.04. Then, open a terminal or in GNOME press “Alt+F2” and type in “update-manager -d”. You see a notification which says that a new release of Ubuntu is available, just proceed by clicking the according button.

Go on with the upgrade….

The system now gathers all information necessary to download and perform the upgrade. After this has been completed, you’ll be asked once again to proceed with the update.

For most users, the download will be the most time consuming part of the upgrade. Ubuntu will download all the new and shiny 11.10 packages which accumulate to about one gigabyte on my system. I mostly use the standard applications from the Ubuntu GNOME installation with some few additions.

The installation can now proceed and install the freshly downloaded packages.

Installation and configuration took about 20 minutes on my machine with 8 gigabyte DDR2 RAM, 64GB SSD drive and Core 2 Quad 2,6 GHz processor. If your box has a normal hard drive, this will take somewhat longer.

If you just leave the machine alone upgrading, be sure to get back from time to time because some configuration files need to be migrated to new versions. There will be a dialogue box waiting for you to give your appreciation to do so. Unless you click “OK”, the installation can not proceed…..

After the upgrade is done, the system asks where to install the boot loader (grub2) and then wants to reboot. This all went well on my installation.

I was used to the GNOME desktop before and now I’m just getting used to Unity. From the visual perspective, it seems quite nice and the features like the integrated search makes it a lot more comfortable to find recently used documents, programs, media files etc. I found myself missing some heavily used “applets” in the GNOME toolbar, but thanks to these guys, I was able to set up my CPU/RAM/DISK applet like I used to in GNOME.

Optimization hint: If you, like me, use the proprietary graphics driver you can update these too after the upgrade. Just launch the proprietary driver tool and pick the latest version, after a reboot everything should work as expected (and of course, graphics accelerated) 🙂