Upgrading to Ubuntu 14.04

This past weekend I transitioned my main desktop machine over to Ubuntu 14.04. I've been putting it off for a while now (obviously) but with the recent move from Chrome to no longer support Ubuntu 12.04 the time came for me to seriously look at making the switch. Some might ask "why not 16.04?" but the answer is I like to be on the stable trailing edge of things. 14.04 has been reliable on my laptop and work machines for a while now, and only sheer laziness kept me from making the switch to 14.04 on the desktop machine.

What I will say though is GNU/Linux and Ubuntu make a transition relatively painless. I had a spare 1TB drive laying around (RMA from another drive going belly-up) and I was able to do the following:

  • Use a USB dock to connect the new drive to Lister (my main desktop machine)
  • Mount it onto a virtual machine using Virtualbox and the USB pass-through
  • Install Ubuntu Server on the drive and get that situated (I have a RAID home directory, and wanted to use LVM)
  • Install Ubuntu Desktop over Ubuntu Server so I have X / Unity
  • Get things stable enough where I could boot from the drive (still via USB)
  • Copy over important files from etc and get things sort-of-situated after booting (video drivers, etc)
  • Replace the OS drive with the new drive (once I figured out which Western Digital 1TB drive it was. ;) )
  • Boot the system with the old OS drive in the USB dock (where I could copy over the remaining bits that I forgot).

Overall it took the balance of an afternoon / evening, but I'm quite pleased with the results.

This is also why I keep using Linux as my primary desktop machine: it makes things that are a little out of the norm possible, and somewhat easy to perform. I was able to completely replace my old set-up without incurring a whole lot of downtime in the interim.

So far I'm enjoying the new setup, and noticing the ever-slight performance improvements. It's not back to 100% yet (still have things that I forgot) but I'm back to what I need on this machine. That's saying a lot since this machine powers a few non-traditional services in my house (local email server, ssh, squeezebox library, etc.).

Yay Ubuntu / GNU/Linux / Virtualbox!