Ubuntu24 Jan 2019 01:11 pm

In my years working on the Ubuntu project I’ve seen quite a lot of bug reports about people encountering failures when trying to upgrade from one release of Ubuntu to another. The most common issue, in my opinion (I have no numbers), is a system having a PPA or other 3rd party provider of packages enabled and that archive having packages which cause a failure to calculate the upgrade.

I’ve recently made some changes to ubuntu-release-upgrader which should improve this situation. The dist-upgrader has had support for an environmental variable, RELEASE_UPGRADER_ALLOW_THIRD_PARTY, for quite a while but it didn’t actually work because do-release-upgrade and check-new-release-gtk didn’t pass the variable to the dist-upgrader. This has now been resolved and actually helps with two things. One is keeping PPAs enabled during the release upgrade process, the other provides better support for users who have their own mirror of the archive. For example, I mirror some releases of Ubuntu and when upgrading have to always respond to the dialog about using an internal mirror and saying yes to rewrite my sources.list file. But now if I use ‘RELEASE_UPGRADER_ALLOW_THIRD_PARTY=1 do-release-upgrade’ I won’t see that dialog!

The other change to ubuntu-release-upgrader makes the dist-upgrader check to see if the package provider actually supports the release to which you are upgrading. As an example the team-xbmc Kodi PPA does not support Ubuntu 18.10. Without my recent change to ubuntu-release-upgrader the upgrade process would just cancel because the PPA didn’t have a release file, this seemed like a silly reason for the whole upgrade to quit! Now the release upgrader will disable the archive that doesn’t support the release to which the system is upgrading and continue to try and calculate the upgrade.

Both of these options are available for upgrades from 18.10 to 19.04 and from 18.04 to 18.10 although 18.04 changes are still in -proposed. So if you have some PPAs enabled and want an easier upgrade process be sure to use the RELEASE_UPGRADER_ALLOW_THIRD_PARTY environment variable and feel free to let me know how it goes.

One Response to “Upgrading releases with PPAs”

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