10.3 - 11 upgrade

Is it possible to update my version of openSUSE without formatting the Linux partition? I did this with Ubuntu from…Gutsy Gibbon to Hardy Heron? Something like that. I don’t recall ever doing that with SuSE, but it would be so nice to not have to save all my documents and such (I know you should anyway :-P). I’ve done searches for ‘update’ and ‘upgrade’ in the forums and on the 11.0 disc’s help files. I didn’t find anything pertaining to this exact issue. So, sorry if I just didn’t look hard enough.

don’t take my word for it, because I could be wrong. But if you just let it format the root partition and not the home partition then you shouldn’t lose any of your documents etc, I would think.

I have things on the root partition too, like save games. Maybe it’s possible to install it without formatting at all…Not sure that would have the effect I want anyway. I have to do these things when I’m not totally impatient due to a cold.


I did upgrade it starting actually with 9.3 and now using 11 with no separate /home partition.

From 10.3 to 11 (using kde 3 not kde 4), like almost every time, I had to solve manually the software upgrading problems which can be a problem for some users. Eventually I uninstalled most of the non-oss and media packages and installed them later after adding the software repositories.

The bad thing that happened from 10.3 to 11 only was the grub loader install not seeing the WinXP partition which I did add manually but after solving that all is working great.

As you can see you may encounter problems so be sure you are ready to cope with them if you choose to upgrade.

Good luck.

First of all, a word of warning.
What you want to do is possible, but even though an upgrade from 10.3 to 11.x theoretically won’t delete your personal files in the /home folder/partition there are no guarantees. Also, with a major version change, as from 10 to 11, there are usually differences that aren’t compatible, that could make the installer fail in keeping your system intact, hence loosing your settings and other installations. Another thing, even though the upgrade process may be a total success, you could be unlucky and have a power failure or unreadable installation source midway in the upgrade process, leaving your system inaccessible.

For all these reasons you should always backup your data before doing things like system upgrades.

Having said that, you could do an upgrade directly from an openSuSE 11 repository on the internet with the zypper command like this:

zypper dist-upgrade -r http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/11.0/repo/oss/

The -r option can be repeated to use several installation repositories. Typically you will need version 11 repositories for all packages you have ever installed for you current version. Otherwise those packages won’t get upgraded.

You can also do your upgrade from an installation DVD, which will offer you the possibility to upgrade instead of doing a fresh install. However, only packages available on the DVD will be upgraded.

Personally, I always backup and do fresh installations of a new distribution, since I feel that distribution upgrades leaves problems that can take a long time to fix, if ever.

What you prefer to do is up to you of course :slight_smile:

Folks have had widely diverse experiences with this. For me - and I’ve done quite a few - it has worked best to use the DVD to do an in-place upgrade; gives me better visibility and control. A lesser known detail with that method is the feature to add repositories, like Packman and nvidia, to the upgrade. The updates repo can also be added up front, which can sometimes be helpful resolving dependencies. As rightly stated already, it really is a matter of personal preference.

In any event, a common thread from experienced users is how very important it is to have a verified backup. Many users only concern themselves with what’s in /home or their “user data”. IME, being able to see what was installed/how something was configured before the upgrade, has helped a lot at resolving a problem. I keep a mirror of the core system on a separate bootable partition - that way I can back reference for diagnostics or even have a failsafe should the whole upgrade tank. Some upgrades are trivial, others major - sometimes you don’t know which until you’ve done it.

I tried the Zypper thing yesterday and it said dist-upgrade was an unknown command. I didn’t have the parameters, but I’d think it shouldn’t say unknown despite that. I don’t know. I’d love to do it from the disc, but you can’t from the LiveCD? That’s what I burnt. We have no DVDs and I don’t know if this drive burns them anyway.

You got the unknown command error because you weren’t logged in as root.

No, the upgrade cannot be done from CD. The DVD supports that. But if you want to do what zypper dist-upgrade does, you can do that from YaST Software Management - arguably it’s easier. First, make sure all the repositories you want are added - the 11.0 oss, non-oss, packman, etc. Same for ATI or nvidia drivers if you use those. Also the 11.0 Updates.

Filter on Repositories. The first choice in the list is @System; click on it to show all installed packages. Right-click in the list, a context menu comes up, select “All in this list . . .”, another context menu, select “Update if newer version available”. You’ll then be hit with the dependency conflicts. Be patient and work through them. I’ve done it this way a nbr of times; it works.

Yes and a good thing too should NEVER log in as root use su or sudo in a console

I was root. Do I have to be in a certain directory? YaST sounds good, though. Maybe I’ll try that. Someone mentioned after upgrading that the XP option wasn’t visible in the boot loader? I have to be sure that nothing on the XP partition is messed up because this is my grandfather’s machine. So could someone explain in detail how to add XP back to the menu? Or point me to another thread that explains it?

What will happen is that the kernel update will also update grub’s boot control file, /boot/grub/menu.lst. All you need to do is create a copy of the current file before it gets over-written. Just open it with a text editor as root and save it with another name, e.g., menu.lst.backup. (Or do it from the command line with the “cp” command.) Then if anything is broken, including losing the XP chainloading stanza, you can just copy what’s missing from your backup.

What I do before upgrade is a bit more elaborate but has come in handy. I have a folder under /boot named “old”. Just before upgrading I copy the kernel, initrd, the symlinks pointing to them, and menu.lst into that folder. Then if for any reason I have trouble with the new kernel, I can force grub to boot from the old until I resolve the problem with the new. Just fwiw.

All right, thank you. I think I’ll test the whole operation on another computer before trying it on here. I think I’ll also get my stepfather to burn the DVD version. Thanks everyone

Just one other thought . . . if you simulate on another machine you’ll be able to duplicate the software upgrade and that’s usually where by far most of the effort goes. But keep in mind that the kernel interacts with the hardware, so it’s theoretically possible for you to encounter something different between the two machines (unless they are identical, of course). What would probably be the most likely of such is if you are using either the ATI or nvidia proprietary graphics driver.

Honestly I have no idea what’s in this machine. I’m not sure anyone knows. :smiley: It’s a bit old at this point, though. I don’t think I’ll have much trouble with drivers…Oh, and proprietary? I never paid for any drivers; both Ubuntu and SuSE have installed and worked successfully right off (although Ubuntu was difficult to UNinstall glare).

You would not have paid for any drivers. Most users with ATI or nvidia graphics devices (or cards) download the proprietary drivers for those company’s sites - that’s to get 3D. But there are good open source alternatives (“radeon” for ATI, “nv” for nvidia), which would have been installed by default. To know the hardware on the machine, go to YaST - Hardware - Hardware Information; a lot of data. Or from the command line in a terminal as root use the command “lspci”; that will report the primary hardware components (the graphics will be the “vga controller”). Good luck.

Please take this with a grain of salt. A few years ago, I upgraded my 9.x to 10.0 with no problems. I also did a 10.0 to 10.2 upgrade with no problems either. I did a fresh install of 10.3 and I am now considering going to 11, but still unsure how I am going to do it. I also have a 9.x at work that I want up to 11 because it’s getting harder to find repos for version 9s. If you end up upgrading, please let me know how you made out.

Use the DVD. Be sure to do the md5sum check on the .iso before burning, and then do a media check from the installation menu before proceeding.

Can someone detail this comment?
I did all the bellow steps but I do not know how to “do a media check from the instalation menu”

Use the DVD. Be sure to do the md5sum check on the .iso before burning, and then do a media check from the installation menu before proceeding


When you boot from the DVD, there will be several choices. One is “check media”. You just select that, hit Enter, and the check will be done. The first md5sum check verifies that the file was downloaded OK and the media check verifies that the burn to DVD was actually successful (the burn can complete successfully, but the nature of the technology is such, that the content may not all be accurately transfered to the media).

I did the media check and got to 99% with an error at the end. I don’t remember what it was, but I booted it anyway. On the LiveCD. It worked fine as far as I can tell. It took me several tries to install 10.3, too. Every time I would do the media check. Sometimes it said fail and sometimes it would go right through. I can’t recall the error in installing that caused me to have to do it over and over.