Upgrading from 12.3 to current through zypper

My system is still running OpenSuse 12.3 and I would like to update without doing a reinstall. In the past I have used zypper to upgrade without any real problems. As I understanding it I should update one hop at a time so 12.3 to 13.1 then 13.1 to 13.2 and so on. My worry is whether at some point some of the intermediate versions have become unavailable.

Are there any special notes on updating from several versions back or cautionary advice on avoid upgrade problems? How long can one wait and still safely upgrade? Thanks in advance for any advice.

Yes, go from one version to the next, do not skip any.

All the subsequent versions are still available.

For 13.1:

For 13.2:

Personally, I would download each & create an install disk for each, then would use the upgrade option on the install disk. You probably already know, but: Make sure you check your partitioning scheme, make sure you have (in the advanced partitioner in the installer) selected not to format your /home partition.

And, above all, Back Up your Full HD First!

I have been putting off this upgrade from 12.3 on my main computer, but now I am having problems with staying so long on older software versions. Staying on an old Firefox version for so long is a problem. I have a newer vanilla Firefox 47 running in parallel, but I miss the KDE integration plugin when I use this. I am also worried about waiting too long to safely upgrade.

Is it still safe to use the zypper dist process to upgrade first from 12.3 to 13.1 and then from 13.1 to 13.2? I have had good success with zypper dist upgrades in the past and would like to follow this track unless there is some strong reason to be wary of this approach. I do understand that jumping more than one major version is not safe. I just want to make sure 13.1 will still be stable for the upgrade to complete before I continue on.

I keep meaning to read up more on running this process through a screen multiplexor like tmux for a greater guarantee of success. Is it possible for zypper to download everything it needs first and then apply the changes to guard against a loss of internet connection causing a failed upgrade? I am not sure to what extent zypper normally does this by default.

How long will it be safe to stay on 13.2 at this point? I would like to catch my breath and acclimate to a more recent release before diving into the 42.x series. I have not experienced KDE 5. Is the 42.x series a rolling release like Tumbleweed, now?

Thanks in advance for any explanations and/or links to further information.

if I remember correctly 13.x (both of them) will die 2 months after 42.2 comes out in a month or two, if you have a 64bit cpu go with leap if not you’ll be stuck with an unsupported OS as almost all distro’s are dropping 32bit builds.
I did a live upgrade from 13.1 to 13.2 to 42.1 and had no real issues, if using propitiatory nvidia/ati drivers remove them before doing an upgrade, also remove all 3rd party repo’s, the upgrade process is straight forward,
if you have a 64bit cpu but a 32bit OS you will need to do a reinstall, afaik there is no way to upgrade from a 32 to 64 bit OS.

I’m in exactly the same situation as the OP but I’m on 32bit hardware. What are my options?

I see that Tumbleweed offers a i586 (32bit?) option. Can I upgrade 12.3 to 13.1 to 13.2 to Tumbleweed?

How long until 32bit is not going to be supported at all? I have 3 Thinkpad laptops so replacing them is would be a significant expense.

Officially both 13.1 and 13.2 will die 2 months after 42.2 comes out (I think that is next month) I believe the stable 32bit releases will die with the New Year.
in theory yes you can upgrade directly from 32bit 13.x to the 32bit tw, the thing is the 32 bit build is not as tested and may have unknown bugs, but that’s the only way to get a “supported” build
the upgrade to tw is similar to what ever version you remove 3rd party drivers, remove extra repo’s, set your current repo’s to point to tw and do

zypper dup

if using an nvidia card you’ll have to manually install the driver, also keep in mind that both plasma 5 and gnome 3 are resource intensive and some older hardware will struggle with them, you can always use a lighter desktop like kde4 from wolfi or lxqt or lxde or mate…

ps. I’m not sure but pure pressure might keep 13.1 alive for a bit longer or force the opensuse team to release a 32bit leap build (which is highly unlikely seeing how 42.2 is based on SLE 12sp2 and that is x64 only)

Thanks. I think I’ll upgrade to 13.2 and then see where I want to go from there. It seems inevitable that I’m going to have to refresh the hardware not too far into the future.

After many delays, I am planning to use zypper to update from 12.3 to 13.1 and then from 13.1 to 13.2 sometime this month. I see that release candidates for 42.2 are coming out now. Given the previous statements about 13.1 and 13.2 being available for around two months after this release, does that mean I have until January to update to at least 42.1?

I realize that 13.1 and 13.2 came out long ago. Are there any specific problems to watch out for during an update? I worry some about the scenario where something breaks during the update to 13.1 without me noticing and then getting worse during an upgrade to 13.2. Is it recommended to stay on the interim version for a couple days to watch for problems or is this approach unnecessary? I do know many people recommend doing fresh installs instead, but I do not want to follow that approach.

Is it really true that the 32-bit version of SUSE Linux are being completely done away with? Does this mean that SUSE Linux on old hardware is a thing of the past or is there a legacy hardware aka a “thin client” version of SUSE Linux for this niche?

32 bit in the main Leap line is gone it is still supported on Tumbleweed. But TW is a roll release which may not be suitable for a business situation because of the fast changes

In my opinion moving that many steps in one go may be fool hardy. There can be issues at any given step. Better to record the apps you want to use and keep using and preserve /etc as a reference and save/not format /home and do a new install for one thing it will be much faster then doing 5 installs all the updates and potential trouble shooting and fixing at each step. By doing this you eliminate any dross that may be left from older versions. If you miss or forget an app it is easy enough to install

You could get a list of your installed programs this way:

rpm -qai | grep "^Name        :" | awk '{print $3}' | xargs > rpm_pkgs_list

Then, if feeling brave, could re-install this way:

zypper in $(cat rpm_pkgs_list)

Had a brain-dead moment when I first copied this down, so did not mark down who worked this out recently, but that person did the above and got satisfactory results.

If not feeling brave, you could go through the list for reference and manually install the packages you want.

I should have been more clear that I am running 64-bit Suse 12.3, so the discontinuation of 32-bit support does not affect my main computer. My interest on 32-bit support was along the lines of “what if” use of Suse on certain older computers, possibly in combination with MATE instead of KDE or GNOME.

My base concern was whether my main computer will be at risk of major malfunctions if I follow the officially supported track of upgrade from 12.3 to 13.1 because 13.1 is so old. I fully intend to move on from 13.1 to 13.2 once I am reasonably confident the first upgrade was successfully. Hopefully, the pause on 13.1 may only be part of one day if all goes smoothly. Unless there are specific pitfalls to be wary about, I will likely upgrade from 12.3 to 13.1 without upgrading third party repositories like Packman for video codecs. As an example, I would need to reinstall the non-vanilla version of VLC after an upgrade anyway. I do not have that many programs from outside the official repository any way, which is part of why I do not think a reinstall should be necessary. I will likely do a fresh compile for a few local programs like Vim 8 afterwards.

Are there any specific “best practices” points of advice on zypper dup as a late upgrade path? For that matter I have read about using tmux or screen as a multiplexer to guard against a crash of XWindows during an upgrade, but I have not tried doing it that way. In particular is any special option needed to ensure needed files are downloaded in advance of doing the update.

One big concern I do have is whether KDE has changed so much that I will not even know if anything is wrong. Is there a Suse help resource that can guide long time, but non-power-user Suse users as they acclimate to changes in newer releases? There is an implicit trap in “don’t worry its just like 13.1” for those who used or stayed on older versions, but are not completely new to Linux. I have never been one to like the line about “forget everything you knew about X because it is year Y and now we have Z”. Hopefully, KDE 5 has not changed too much. I have never used activities at all and just want to use multiple desktops my own way.

Thanks in advance for any explanations and/or links to help.

Large upgrade paths are always more risky but even upgrading to just the next version there maybe some risk depending on how things are set up and what hardware you run. The risk is things are broken and have to be fixed.

Personally I always do a clean new install when I upgrade. I maintain 2 40 gig partitions which I alternate install each version this way I can completely test the new OS before making a commitment to it. Initially I set the new one to not mount my home partition so that new programs don’t mess with my personal setting until I commit to the new. When I decide the new OS is stable and works well with my stuff I boot to single user mode rename the /home directory and set my home partition to mount as /home. I am then committed to the new OS. If I should need to boot to the older one I always use a different user so there is no confusion between different versions of the configuration files in my home. This way I always have a fall back to anything but a total hardware failure. But that is what backups are for.

Doing a clean install means I have to reinstall any programs that I might need, but it also means I’ve purged any programs I don’t really use any more.

The time you take to move 4 or 5 versions is going to be a lot more then doing a clean install and and reinstalling your needed programs. If you miss some no biggie just go to yast and install as you determine what you need

It would have to be quite old, AFAIK, because I believe 64-bit is available on most machines – maybe all? – built since about 2005, more than 10 years ago.

Hopefully, KDE 5 has not changed too much.

Yes, it has.

This ability is gone:

I have never used activities at all and just want to use multiple desktops my own way.

This is the path I also recommend.

As gogalthorp suggests, make your system dual-boot with the version you have now and the new LEAP, but keep your /home directories independent for the first while until you are comfortable with the new system.

After various delays, I have some time off and am looking to use zypper to upgrade first 12.3 to 13.1 and then 13.1 to 13.2 and pause there temporarily.

Are the following distribution links still available and if so for how much longer?

For 13.1:

For 13.2

Currently, I have an OpenSuse 12.3 system running KDE 4 (specifically 4.10.5 “release 1” according to kinfocenter). Is it safe to assume that zypper will keep KDE 4 installed and simply update all KDE 4 dependencies to the newest available versions as of the latest 13.2 updates? Are there known issues/pitfalls with this upgrade path?

Trying to upgrade from a version that old is uphill with plenty of room for error. I recommend a new install. Note the major programs you use and reinstall. You can keep your home partition. Just pay attention during the install and be certain things are as you want before accepting the partition scheme… This will take a lot less time and effort then trying to move trough 4 upgrades

I agree. Also, when paying attention to the partition scheme, make absolutely certain that the partitioner IS NOT set to format your /home partition!

I decided to go ahead an perform a zypper upgrade from 12.3 to 13.1. After changing repositories following the directions in http://yourlinuxguy.com/?p=1081 I ran the upgrade command:

  • zypper dup --download “in-advance”

I have run into two strange problems.

  1. Under 12.3 I was apparently still booting using GRUB not GRUB2. After the upgrade the system still boots to GRUB which has a new option
title GNU GRUB 2 -- openSUSE 12.3 - GNU GRUB 2
    kernel (hd0,5)/boot/grub2/i386-pc/core.img root=/dev/disk/by-id/ata-WDC_WD5000AAKX-753CA0_WD-WCAYUR719054-part6 resume=/dev/mapper/cr_sda5 splash=verbose quiet showopts reboot=pci vga=0x375

which then boot over to GRUB2. Once in a GRUB2 menu, I can boot OpenSUSE. When I run YaST the Boot Loader option shows GRUB settings not GRUB2. I am not sure how to resolve this and I am not sure if this setup would become more problematic if I were to try to upgrade from OpenSUSE 13.1 to 13.2.

  1. This system does not use LVM for disk partition management, but does have encrypted ext3 volumes including one on a USB external hard drive. After the update the encrypted volume on the USB external hard drive is no longer being mounted by the system. /etc/fstab still has an appropriate reference to /dev/mapper/cr_sdb2 but OpenSUSE 13.1 is not creating a link under /dev/ directory for this mapping. I am researching this problem it sounds like there is an issues with what LUNs are assigned, but I only grasp part of the material and do not know how to address this.

I do have have 10,758 lines of output from the zypper dup command, but I am not sure if posting them here would be readable. I do see some lines in the output where /dev/mapper/cr_sda5 is being handled by the upgrade about kernel modules that may be relevent:

modprobe: Module ehci_pci not found.
WARNING: no dependencies for kernel module 'ehci-pci' found.
modprobe: Module ohci_pci not found.
WARNING: no dependencies for kernel module 'ohci-pci' found.

Any advice or pointers are appreciated.

I believe I solved issue 2) where the 13.1 system did not mount an encrypted ext3 partition on a USB external hard drive. The file /etc/crypttab, which describes the encrypted block devices, was using option “noauto” instead of “none” like other encrypted partitions. It seems 12.3 was ignoring the noauto option, while 13.1 now honors it, causing the system to skip prompting for the password and skip mounting this partition.

If I guess correctly, the easy solution to issue 1) – where the 13.1 system boots GRUB then makes me pick an option to chain to GRUB2 and boot the proper OS – would be to toggle the setting through YaST2 Boot Loader. If I understand correctly, on the Boot Loader Installation tab window I would toggle the Boot Loader setting from GRUB to GRUB2. Starting this process will not allow me to toggle back to GRUB, but I can Cancel to keep the current setting by abandoning changes. As of now when I do the intermediate step of chaining from GRUB to GRUB2, the graphics mode for GRUB2 is off making the options hard to read. Are there any configuration steps or tweaks that I should double check by hand before saving and rebooting?

I’m interested in hearing more about this method. I need to upgrade my 12.3 (on 32bit) to 13.2 rather than risking the incremental updates and the time it will take I’m now thinking about downloading the 13.2 install and installing it fresh. I’d like to keep my existing 12.3 until I’m sure I’ve got 13.2 working properly.

My question is, are you offered the option to do a dual boot at the time of install? I now not to format the /home partition and old 12.3 partition. At what point do you set the new OS not to mount the /home (I assume you refer to the old /home) directory? Is that option offered during the install? Do you use the same username for the new install?