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I have a Linux Mint 10 Julia installed on my machine.

I'd like to upgrade, but as Linux Mint upgrade page says: why upgrade? I would like to upgrade in order to have more recent software and fixes.

According to that my intent is to update repository references so that I can benefit of newest updates and fixes for my installed packages.

Which is the most appropriate way to do something like that?

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

The preferred method is the following:

  1. Making a backup of the data
  2. Making a backup of the software selection
  3. Performing a fresh installation using the liveCD/liveUSB of the new release
  4. Restoring the data
  5. Restoring the software selection

That way you have the greatest chance of getting a new working system. More detailled information can be found on this blog post: How to upgrade to a newer release

Since you probably want to upgrade to version 13, a version with long term support, I would not recommend updating the package repository entries in sources.list. You could have tried that from one version to the next. But from version 10 to 13 there's too much that changed inbetween.

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So you would suggest a "fresh" upgrade. Ok. My only concern is about my actual BugZilla installation which already holds hundreds of bugs that I must keep track of. So first I need to learn how to backup that installation and how to restore it elsewhere. Thank you. – BerserkEVA Jun 20 '12 at 16:03
I don't know bugzilla. User data is only stored in $HOME, since that's the only permanent place where the users have write access to. Database systems might also store data in /var/cache, /usr/local/ or also /var/lib. Such data needs to be saved with a database dump, copying the binary database blobs is not necessarily portable. – Marco Jun 20 '12 at 16:17
@BerserkEVA Mint is oriented towards desktop users who only have data in their home directory. Calling reinstalling “fresh upgrades” is a bit of a joke. If you're making nontrivial use of your Linux installation, I recommend using a distribution that takes upgrades seriously, for example Ubuntu. – Gilles Jun 20 '12 at 22:40
@Gilles Mint is based on Ubuntu and almost everything that applies to Ubuntu concerning updates applies to Mint as well. I don't see what makes Mint “less serious” than Ubuntu. I don't know of any distribution that supports an upgrade skipping two versions. If you don't like reinstalls go for a distribution that uses a rolling release cycle, e.g. Debian testing/sid or Arch. – Marco Jun 21 '12 at 8:29

This link has some info on what in /etc/apt/sources* need to be changed to enable the possibility of dist-upgrading.

Though I'm seeing red flags on many links that indicate it can break the system instead of completing successfully. This would necessitate a full reinstall, where the "preferred" upgrade method is to do a reinstall in the first place.

So long as your /home is on a separate partition from / I recommend just doing a reinstall.

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You should consider to use more descriptive descriptions for the links. Upgrade Linux Mint 11 to version 12, for instance, would have been a much better link description. Furthermore, links can expire. It would be better if you had copied the instructions into your answer (since it's just a few lines) and keep the link as the source. – Marco Jun 20 '12 at 15:06
@Marco I'll try to do more like that in the future. But the linked page had so much, I wasn't sure what really was necessary, and what wasn't. Also, from several results I found, the "failure possible/likely, reinstall recommended" thing seemed the strongest point needing to be conveyed. – killermist Jun 20 '12 at 15:11

Here is generic information for upgrade a debian based distro:

  1. Update /etc/apt/sources.list to the new version's repository.
  2. apt-get update
  3. apt-get dist-upgrade

You should do independent research on how to update your sources file(s). I found this though:

deb http://packages.linuxmint.com/ maya main upstream import
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu/ precise partner
deb http://packages.medibuntu.org/ precise free non-free

#deb http://archive.getdeb.net/ubuntu precise-getdeb apps
#deb http://archive.getdeb.net/ubuntu precise-getdeb games
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