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Easiest Upgrade Ever

File partition diagram
File partition diagram

Success stories are boring. But writing only about difficulty fills the published world with information that only provides half the picture. I keep reading stories about how Linux isn't good enough as a desktop, with endless nitpicking about UX (user experience) choices. Boring: how did we manage to produce so many UX experts over the past decade (criticism of the Linux desktop used to at least focus on matters of substance).

Anyway, here's a data point:

It was time to update a Linux system to newer versions of the software. I backed up my machine and prepared to wipe and restore. Inserted the newer version of the distro, and began the install process. The installer saw that my system had been set up with a separate partition for /home and offered to update only the other partition. I accepted. Fifteen minutes later, I had a new and updated desktop, where effortlessly and to my astonishment, all my stuff was unscathed. Specifically:

All settings, bookmarks, shortcuts, keystroke configurations, SSH keys, configuration files. All colors, fonts, and style configurations. All custom dictionaries and edits to spell-checking files. Everything.

It was effortless and impressive and easy. And damned quick, for that matter. Every Windows upgrade my employer has ever delivered me resulted in a near total loss of everything that matters to me, like bookmarks. Yes that's probably because they're brute forcing an image on my machine. But when that's what you're used to, the pleasure of sitting down in front of an upgraded computer that has retained all your hard-earned stuff is remarkable. Point goes to Linux.


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