How To Upgrade Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) To 9.10 (Karmic Koala) (Desktop & Server)

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Author: Falko Timme
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Yesterday the new Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) was released. This guide shows how you can upgrade your Ubuntu 9.04 desktop and server installations to Ubuntu 9.10.

This document comes without warranty of any kind! I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Desktop

Start the Update Manager (System > Administration > Update Manager):

The Update Manager should show that a new distribution release (9.10) is available. Click on the Upgrade button to start the distribution upgrade:

A window with the release notes for 9.10 comes up. Click on Upgrade again:

The upgrade tool is now being downloaded.

Afterwards, type in your password:

The upgrade is being prepared:

You might see a note that support for some applications ended. Click on Close:

Click on Start Upgrade to finally begin with the upgrade process:

The upgrade packages are now being downloaded...

... and installed. This can take some time, so please be patient.

At the end of the upgrade process, you should remove obsolete packages:

The system needs to be rebooted to complete the upgrade, therefore click on Restart Now:

After the reboot, you can use your new Ubuntu 9.10 desktop:


2 Server

First become root:

sudo su

Then run

aptitude update

and install the package update-manager-core:

aptitude install update-manager-core

Open the file /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades...

vi /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades

... and make sure it has Prompt=normal in it:


Then run


to start the distribution upgrade.

[email protected]:~# do-release-upgrade
Checking for a new ubuntu release
Done Upgrade tool signature
Done Upgrade tool
Done downloading
extracting 'karmic.tar.gz'
authenticate 'karmic.tar.gz' against 'karmic.tar.gz.gpg'

Reading cache
Checking package manager
Continue running under SSH?

This session appears to be running under ssh. It is not recommended
to perform a upgrade over ssh currently because in case of failure it
is harder to recover.

If you continue, a additional ssh daemon will be started at port
Do you want to continue?

Continue [yN] <-- y

Confirm that you want to do the upgrade:

Do you want to start the upgrade?

7 packages are going to be removed. 57 new packages are going to be
installed. 269 packages are going to be upgraded.

You have to download a total of 153M. This download will take about 1
minute with your connection.

Fetching and installing the upgrade can take several hours. Once the
download has finished, the process cannot be cancelled.

 Continue [yN]  Details [d]
 <-- y

At the end of the upgrade process, you should remove obsolete packages:

Remove obsolete packages?

18 packages are going to be removed.

 Continue [yN]  Details [d]
 <-- y

The server needs to be rebooted to complete the upgrade:

System upgrade is complete.
Restart required

To finish the upgrade, a restart is required.
If you select 'y' the system will be restarted.

Continue [yN] <-- y

After the reboot, your server is running Ubuntu 9.10.


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10 Comment(s)

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By: srhegde

Thanks, very useful for someone doing it for first time

I upgraded my ubuntu laptop with little difficulty - the difficulty being in the network, probably because I tried to upgrade on the same day the distro was released. nothing to do with the distro itself.

On Kubuntu desktop, I get a "9.10 available" notification and I have to just click the button!

By: Dvanzo

I just updated my Vostro 1500... Already reported two errors via launchpad (wifi radar and a kernel panic).

The startup process isn't polish enough for me... Even shows a terminal login before shows the graphical environment... Login sound isn't syncronized with the login window...



By: george

I was upgrading from jaunty to karmic when my computer crashed. when i restarted it won't reboot apparently because the upgrade got aborted. how do i get back what i had? i don't mind going back to jaunty as long as i get it working. please help me.



Just in case you get the following error message during the update:

update-alternatives: error: alternative link /usr/share/man/man5/maildir.5.gz is already managed by maildir.5.gz.

Just do this:

aptitude remove maildrop
aptitude safe-upgrade
update-alternatives --remove-all maildir.5
update-alternatives --remove-all maildirquota.7
aptitude install maildrop

 You won't loose any configurations mail accounts etc.

By: Anonymous

I made the mistake of looking at the details of the obsolete software packages that were going to be removed, this stopped the install script and the packages were not removed.


The courrier-base package and all dependencies are not updating because of the bug in the courier-base package that is also mentioned in the "Perfect Server" howto. You get the following error:

update-alternatives: error: alternative link /usr/share/man/man5/maildir.5.gz is already managed by maildir.5.gz.

Any idea what to do? melwood

By: Craigo

Upgrading to 9.10 will not bring all the benefits of a fresh install.  Namely:

  • grub 1.5 will not upgrade to grub2
  • any partitions in ext2/3 will not be upgraded to ext4 

For the casual user, this means they won't see faster boots & filesystem access times.  For moderate-to-advanced users & IT:

  • grub2 has been completely rewritten for "modularity & portability"[1].  Grub 1.5 is deprecated.
  • ext4 supports TRIM for SSDs, journal checksumming, extents & a lot more[2]




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By: nealbirch

The current drive has been upgrade from 7.10 to 8.04 to 8.10 and now to 9.10 (Yeah, I skipped 9.04, sue me). 1784 packages were upgraded, it took overnight, I lost a couple of things I used: buoh, the gnome comic reader and pysol, a solitare game I fancy.  Both of these can be added from previous repositories or from the source.

 I'm thinking "clean install" to get the boost from grub upgrade and ext4 and to remove all the cruft that has collected. Since I maintain my /home directories on a separate drive the only change there would be to configure the fstab after the upgrade and reinstall the things I use, I'm just not in the mood this weekend.  If you plan that, get a copy of your installed files by following the instructions here:

 BEFORE you wipe your drive. Also make a note of your other sources (do-core for instance) so you can add that as well before you go on the apt-install trail as well as any custom configurations, such as maybe your xorg.conf or mail servers.

If you don't maintain your /home directories on a separate drive or partition, with ubuntu it's easy, lot's of tutorials out there on how to do so.


By: Lukerazor

Word to the wise

I did this on the w-end and it was all seamless, except handbrake is now broken :(

The Ubuntu forums have some ideas to fix it but they involve updating to the latest SVN build of handbrake that has dropped support for xvid/avi which was all I used it for :(.

So I'm in the market for a dvd transcoder (again)

By: Anonymous

I had a good 9.04 working on my amd64/1G/nvidia ge6 /realtek sound card. When I upgraded, it went on smoothly, but after the upgrade completed, the sound card was lost and not recognized anymore. And the boot time was about 50 seconds.

So I had to reload by a fresh installation - and the sound card was recognized but as a pulse audio, not as realtek in the previous 9.04. The microphone doesn't work anymore in 9.10. I've got loads of work to make them work.

The boot time is now 35 seconds.