Ubuntu 13.10 – Saucy Salamander Upgrade


saucyLast week, Ubuntu started pestering me about upgrading from 13.04 to 13.10.  While I should have know better, I elected to go ahead and perform the upgrade.  Not that it’s out of the question for me to run on the bloody, razor’s edge, I just made a couple errors in judgement that cost me a few hours of shop time.

My first mistake was not having a backup.  I use Ubuntu One and Dropbox to store off my important data so if the OS tanks, oh well.  It would be a pain in the ass, but I could get through it.  What I didn’t expect was that this would actually happen since the upgrade from 12.04 to 13.04 was flawless.  So, no system-wide, disaster recovery, monkeys ARE flying out of your butt backups.

The second error was basing this upgrade success on the last upgrade.  While it’s only been a few months, a secret squirrel is capable of jacking up a build within one cycle.  I’m a software engineer.  I know these things.  Hell, I’ve DONE these things.  Bah… what could go wrong, aye?

So, I started out getting the notice to upgrade which I eagerly confirmed.  I got the normal, mentions about breaking your stuff, back up your stuff, the moon is made of cheese disclaimers.  Blah…. waving them off with a deft click of the mouse, I continued into Saucy Nerdvana…

Just as a matter of conversion, when an upgrade notice tells you NOT to turn off your machine, they mean it.  No foolin, here.  It’s going to cause problems.  The moon will become a ball of Nachos!

About half way through the multi-hour upgrade, my machine started twitching.  Error in Judgement #3.  I should have found another machine to work on while the upgrade finished.  But I was being a little lazy and about to be paid for sloth.  The OS suddenly twitched, pitched, then switched.  Finally it locked up then shut off.  Technically, I did not turn off the power but I probably pissed it off somehow.

I attempted to boot it back up and got to my Grub menu but not much further.  The boot process ended with a black screen and a fully functional mouse.  This would have been cool in 1972 but it just sucked for 2013.  I tried some vain attempts at repair but nothing worked.  It was dead, Jim.

My hope was that I could install a fresh copy of 13.10 on top and everything would be fine.  So I downloaded the latest version and burned it to a DVD.  I then booted off it and started the install process.  I was warned that all my programs would be going to heaven by everything under my home directory would be fine.  So, when prompted, I put in my username and password, then sent the install off to do it’s thing.

After a while, it finished and I rebooted.  I added my username and password into the login form and…. nothing… Whaaaa?

It turns out that Ubuntu assigned a new ID to my user account.  So, even though the username and password were the same, I was not allowed access.  Luckily, I was able to switch into the terminal (CTRL + ALT + F6).  I was able to log in here and then via sudo, chown my home directory to my new user account.

Then I spent about 4 hours reinstalling the apps that I really, really needed.  Had I not put in my actual username and password, I suspect that my creds would still have worked without issue (since I was able to log in with my secret squirrel account).

So, in the end, I got to keep all my important stuff and do a little Fall cleaning of crap that has been accumulating.  But it should have been easier that that.  No fault of Ubuntu’s.  I simply got lazy and didn’t follow my own rules.

So, now I have had my 5-year computer epic fail moment, which usually gets me back on the straight and narrow.  I’ll probably be waiting for v14.10 before I upgrade again, staying on version behind, like usual and running backups like I should.

But then again, where would the fun be in that…