Upgrade to Linux Mint 19 (Ubuntu 18.04)

I recently upgraded from Linux Mint 18.3 to the latest version, Linux Mint 19. I did this so I could test and eventually update my VGA passthrough tutorial. There was no other practical reason for me to upgrade.

I did the upgrade twice:

  1. Using the mintupgrade tool provided by Linux Mint. This allowed me to upgrade my existing Linux Mint installation and all installed applications.
    The upgrade went surprisingly smooth, with only minor glitches. However, in the end I decided to reinstall the Linux Mint 19 system from scratch (see 2. below).
  2. Install the entire operating system from the downloaded ISO, while preserving the /home director (my user directory) and all other data.
    This was quite a pain in the neck, as it turned out.

New Linux Mint 19 installation in place of Linux Mint 18.3

Here my experiences with a new installation, while preserving the /home folder:

  • I wanted to backup my software selection using the Backup tool in Linux Mint 18.3. That did not work as I used Synaptic to install all my packages, and not the Software Manager. I usually know what I need, and if some package is missing, it’s easy to install it when needed. So I skipped the software selection backup.
  • Just in case, I completely backed up my Linux Mint 18.3 system twice: one on a local drive, another on my remote server.
  • Booting Linux Mint 19 was easy, both legacy MBR boot and UEFI boot.
  • Unfortunately the Ubiquity installer wasn’t able to cope with my configuration. I’m using LVM volumes for everything except for the /boot directory which needs to be a common format like ext2.
    Each time I tried to install Linux Mint 19 on top of the existing Linux Mint 18.3 (/, /boot, swap volumes), the installer would identify my Windows 10 EFI partition on another logical volume (LV) and try to install an EFI partition into this volume and hang. It didn’t even matter if I tried UEFI or legacy installation (non-UEFI boot into the USB stick).
    The only way to overcome this bug was to physically disconnect my Windows 10 SSD drive containing the EFI partition (inside an LV).
  • Once the Windows 10 EFI partition was removed, the installation went quick and painless.
  • The newly installed Linux Mint 19 had a long boot delay of 30 seconds. After some search I found this solution that worked for me.
  • I learned my lesson regarding the software backup tool and installed some packages using the Software Manager, just to discover that the Software selection Backup tool doesn’t show any installed package (mind you, the Software Manager was able to show the installed packages). Once again someone on the www found a way how to deal with it, by manually editing the dconf database and removing the “apt:” in front of the package name. Strangely enough my server – running the same Linux Mint version – doesn’t have this problem. Go figure.
  • I’ve been using Luckybackup for some years now. It’s flexible and powerful enough for me to accommodate my various multiple backup schemes – local volumes, external disks, and even remote servers. So I went and installed it via the Software Manager only to discover that the Luckybackup Super-User launcher doesn’t work. I discovered that it installs with a “su-to-root -X” option that supposedly calls gksudo or similar which has been deprecated in Linux Mint 19 (and Ubuntu 18.04). Both use now new tools that allow users to run applications as root, instead of simply improving on existing tools. The bug-ridden pkexec certainly doesn’t do the job, at least not for me. And having to learn new command line syntax with every new release of Ubuntu or Linux Mint is ridiculous. It’s almost as if I had to learn driving a car with every new car model that comes out. Luckily, at least car manufacturers don’t start putting the brake and accelerator in different places, or mess around with the winker and steering wheel. Is the Linux community incapable of learning such basics as human interface and KISS – keep it simple and stupid?
  • I managed to get VGA passthrough working, and I updated the tutorial using the new command syntax (a pain in the neck!).
  • Next I discovered that nothing but US-ASCII characters would show in xed (the document editor), as well as in the save dialog in Caja. I literally couldn’t type any non-ASCII characters such as German umlaute or Hebrew characters. It was like the keyboard wasn’t working.
    I eventually discovered that I had a misconfigured qt5ct.conf file in my /home/user/.config/qt5ct folder. The solution to the problem was:

    1. Create a new user including home folder.
    2. Copy /home/newuser/.config/qt5ct/qt5ct.conf to your /home/yourself/.config/qt5ct folder. Make sure the file permissions match your own user.
    3. Run sudo update-initramfs -u
    4. Reboot and check.
    5. If everything worked OK, delete the new user and files.
  • EDIT: Linux Mint 19 / Ubuntu 18.04 doesn’t offer the system-config-lvm GUI to configure LVM (logical volumes). What a shame, no GUI anymore for PV, VG, and LV configuration.
    I managed to install it by adding the old Ubuntu 16.04 repository to the sources, and pinning the package. For more on that, see PinningHowto.
Linux sources
Adding a repository to the Sources list

Summary

If you don’t install a new system, or don’t have a very good reason to upgrade from an older (perhaps obsoleted) version of Linux Mint, don’t upgrade.

Never touch a running system!

One thought on “Upgrade to Linux Mint 19 (Ubuntu 18.04)”

  1. Hello PowerHouse !

    I thought I would follow your suggestion and sigup here. Hoping this reaches you. This is just a test post to see how everything works. I have made great progress with the passthru. I got windows installed in a VM, YEAH !!!! Still having some odd USB issues still gotta get that straight ..

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