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Upgrading from Ubuntu 5.04 (Hoary) to 5.10 (Breezy)

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I've recently put the Ubuntu distribution of GNU/Linux on my IBM ThinkPad X40 laptop. Ubuntu worked better on my laptop than Fedora Core 3, which had problems with sound and some of the ThinkPad buttons (especially the one that turned the internal wireless on and off). Ubuntu 5.04 (Hoary) solved all of the significant problems I had under Fedora Core, except Ubuntu 5.04 also disabled the ThinkPad button (Fn-F7) that allows the computer to send screen output to a projector. NAM reader XS recently emailed with a simple solution to the Fn-F7 problem: upgrade to Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy). Last night I did the upgrading and every indication is that Ubuntu 5.10 solves the external display problem and leaves all other features intact.

The best place to start the upgrading process is the Ubuntu wiki, which includes a set of upgrade notes for Breezy. The wiki describes several ways to upgrade, but if you have a reasonably fast internet connection, the simplest way is using apt-get.

To update using apt-get, first open up a terminal (Applications, Accessories, Terminal). At the command line, type:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

which will let you edit the file that apt uses to find updates of Ubuntu and other files. (Ubuntu may prompt you for your password.) Save a copy of sources.list under a new name such as sources.list.old. If something goes wrong, you can use this version of the file to restore your original sources.list file. Now change the name of the file you're editing back to /etc/apt/sources.list (use the "Save As" command and enter sources.list as the new name; when gedit asks you if you want to overwrite the existing version of the file, say yes). Now replace the contents of the entire file with the following text:

## Major bug fix updates produced after the final release of the
## distribution.
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy-updates main restricted
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy-updates main restricted

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from the 'universe'
## repository.
## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to
## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in
## universe WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu security
## team.
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy main universe multiverse restricted
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy main universe multiverse restricted

deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy-security main restricted
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy-security main restricted

deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy-security universe
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu breezy-security universe

Save the file. Now, back at the terminal command line, first type:

sudo apt-get update

Then type:

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

The second command took about two hours to complete on my computer using a broadband connection (3 Mbps DSL). At one point in the procedure, after the downloading was complete and as the actual updating was happening, Ubuntu prompted me for how I wanted to treat a file called tpbrc, which stores configuration information for ThinkPad buttons. The default option is "no", but I selected "yes" in order to install the new configuration information. That was the only time in the whole installation procedure that I was asked to make any less-than-completely obvious decision.

So far, Breezy and my laptop are working smoothly. I'll let you know if I discover any problems.