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  • Mint upgrade 19.3 to 20 — Timeshift mandatory?

    Posted on Ascaris Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Non-Windows operating systems Linux – all distros Mint upgrade 19.3 to 20 — Timeshift mandatory?

    • This topic has 8 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 2 weeks ago.
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      • #2279289 Reply
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        My main OS is KDE Neon, but I do have a Mint Cinnamon installation for reference and testing purposes on my Dell G3. Now that it is possible to perform the upgrade, I’m doing that.

        The first thing I’ve discovered is that the Mint upgrader now completely fails if the person does not have Timeshift set up. I fully approve of the idea of strongly advising users to use Timeshift… I find it a useful tool, and I am one of the apparently 0.1 percent that have made a donation to its author to perpetuate the project. I’m a little disappointed that he’s chosen to neglect it because he hasn’t received enough donations, though.  I did my part.

        That said, though, I don’t agree that it should force someone to set up Timeshift to be able to upgrade. I have a full Veeam backup of my entire G3, Mint volume included, not that it’s any of Mint’s business, and that backup is up to date. It’s my PC and my choice, and I should not have to be explaining that in the Linux world.  A command line switch to disable the Timeshift checking would be an appropriate way of dealing with this, but there does not appear to be such a thing.

        As I have said before, if you ask me to do something, I will evaluate the thing in good faith, and I may choose to do as requested. If you try to force me, the odds are strong that I will commit to never doing the thing you are trying to force me to do. This is one such instance; I simply refuse to set up a redundant Timeshift when I know I have a superior image backup already.

        Fortunately, there’s a fix for Mint’s upgrader if you wish to opt out of Timeshift. I strongly recommend to have a backup of some sort, but it doesn’t have to be Timeshift.

        First install the mintupgrade package as normal, but don’t run it yet.

        Navigate to /usr/bin, and open the file mintupgrade as root in the text editor. If it asks what you want to do with the file, select Display. Scroll down to line 223, and find and comment out or delete these lines:

        self.progress("Checking your Timeshift configuration")
        if not os.path.exists("/etc/timeshift.json"):
        self.fail("Please set up system snapshots. If anything goes wrong with the upgrade, snapshots will allow you to restore your operating system. Install and configure Timeshift, and create a snapshot before proceeding with the upgrade.")

        To comment out a line, simply insert a # symbol as the first character in each of the three lines.

        Save the file, and then you can run the upgrade without being pestered about Timeshift. It’s still a bad idea to do this with no backup at all, but it’s your system and your time that it will take to reinstall it if it goes wrong!

         

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.4).

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2279581 Reply
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        For those not familiar with the # in linux: all this does is ignore the following line data/ instructions.
        It’s a bit like REM at the start of lines when editing config.sys/ autoexec.bat files and others in the dos days.

        | Win8.1 Pro x64 | Linux Hybrids x86/x64 | Win7 Pro x86/x64 Offline |
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2279737 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          Again, I am not sure why the site hamburgered my formatting in the code section. The whole point of code tags is to retain the existing formatting, and what does it do? Strips it all out. Copy and paste it, and the formatting is back!

          Will try again to get it formatted.  Trying a straight copy paste with no other changes:

          self.progress("Checking your Timeshift configuration")
          if not os.path.exists("/etc/timeshift.json"):
          self.fail("Please set up system snapshots. If anything goes wrong with the upgrade, snapshots will allow you to restore your operating system. Install and configure Timeshift, and create a snapshot before proceeding with the upgrade.")

          In case it failed again, here it is without the code tags:

          self.progress(“Checking your Timeshift configuration”)
          if not os.path.exists(“/etc/timeshift.json”):
          self.fail(“Please set up system snapshots. If anything goes wrong with the upgrade, snapshots will allow you to restore your operating system. Install and configure Timeshift, and create a snapshot before proceeding with the upgrade.”)

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.4).

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2279738 Reply
        Lars220
        AskWoody Lounger

        Thank you Ascaris, I have not tried the following, above my skill set, maybe you can experiment with the following ?  Some instructions and information from:

        https://linuxmint-user-guide.readthedocs.io/en/latest/upgrade-to-mint-20.html

        Skipping the timeshift requirement:

        If you’re using another snapshot tool and would rather not use Timeshift, you can skip the Timeshift requirement with the following command:

        sudo touch /etc/timeshift.json

        Don’t forget to remove that file after the upgrade if you want Timeshift to work properly.

        I have not attempted the above sudo command, I use Timeshift, just sharing some information for some that are more competent than me.  Thanks for your education!

      • #2279749 Reply
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Thank you Ascaris, I have not tried the following, above my skill set, maybe you can experiment with the following ?  Some instructions and information from:

        https://linuxmint-user-guide.readthedocs.io/en/latest/upgrade-to-mint-20.html

        Skipping the timeshift requirement:

        If you’re using another snapshot tool and would rather not use Timeshift, you can skip the Timeshift requirement with the following command:

        sudo touch /etc/timeshift.json

        Don’t forget to remove that file after the upgrade if you want Timeshift to work properly.

        I have not attempted the above sudo command, I use Timeshift, just sharing some information for some that are more competent than me.  Thanks for your education!

        What the touch command does is create a blank (empty) config file for Timeshift. I thought about doing that once I got into the script and could see that all it does is check for the presence of the file, but it’s kind of hacky to have a dummy config file for a program that I never used (in that installation)… the kind of thing that could easily be forgotten later, and while it would do no harm, it could be a bit of a puzzle why it’s there.  By contrast, removing the three lines from the script just gets rid of the check completely. They would both work the same.

        The script (the file called mintupgrade) is just a text file, so all it would take would be to edit out those three lines, whether deleting them or just commenting them out.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.4).

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2280197 Reply
        RetiredGeek
        AskWoody MVP

        Worked like a charm. However, I only got to Mint 19 Tara. Will try again to see if I get 20. 😎

        May the Forces of good computing be with you!

        RG

        PowerShell & VBA Rule!
        Computer Specs

      • #2280202 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        If I already have Timeshift installed in Mint 19.x, am I all set to move first to 19.3, then to 20 without any of this inconvenience?

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

        • #2280215 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          f I already have Timeshift installed in Mint 19.x, am I all set to move first to 19.3, then to 20 without any of this inconvenience?

          If you have used Timeshift, or even just set it up without creating a snapshot, it would work.

          If it is installed but never used, it would still complain about not being set up. That was how my Mint 19.3 was.  The Mint updater looks for the presence of the file /etc/timeshift.json, which is the Timeshift settings file. It creates this at the time you first set up Timeshift, whether for manual or automatic creation of snapshots.

          The updater does not check to make sure you’ve actually made a backup or that you have automatic backups enabled, or anything like that… it just checks for the presence of the json file that does not exist (normally) until you configure Timeshift. That’s why the touch command is enough to satisfy the updater, even though it only creates an empty file.

          It is not a huge inconvenience as much as it is a Microsoftian “we know what’s best for you” kind of insult. I can understand the Mint people not wanting to have to explain to angry people that they will probably have to reinstall Mint if something goes wrong and they do not have a backup, but I also do not think making it mandatory is the answer.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.4).

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2282370 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        I’m on Linux Mint 19.3 and I just got offered, and I installed, Kernel 5.4.0.42 and I was never offered any of the earlier Kernel 5.4 versions that where listed in the Mint Update Manager as available/optional but never offered/pushed out to be installed. So even Mint 19.3 is eligible to get Linux Kernel’s Above the 5.3 Kernel versions offered directly by the Update Manager as the latest needed Kernel, and not just some optional Kernel upgrade?

        I had originally thought that one had to have moved to Mint 20 to get offered any Linux Kernel above Kernel 5.3 so what’s the deal with supported Linux Mint Versions(19.3 in my case) and the Kernel update cutoff point.

        I usually set a timeshift snapshot before doing a Kernel update just to be safe but I thought one had to update to Linux Mint 20 to get offered any Linux Kernel above Kernel 5.3 and I was on 5.3 before getting offered Kernel 5.4.0.42 just this evening and Mint 19.3’s update manager never gave me the direct option of installing Kernel 5.4.0.40, or 5.4.0.39, 5.4.0.37. So I’m assuming that there well be no more 5.3 kernel updates offered for supported versions of Linux Mint after Kernel 5.3.0.62 and everyone will have to begin using Kernels above 5.4 instead.

        Linux Mint is a nice OS and I have 19.3 installed(Dual boot with 7/EOL) on 4 laptops(Ivy Bridge/Older Intel core i series generation laptops) But really someone needs to do a deep dive for newbies on Linux Mint and the Kernel Update cadence on Linux Mint and how that relates to several Linux Mint Editions like Mint 19.0’s Kernel Updates through 19.1, 19.2, and 19.3 into Mint 20.0 and onward to Mint 20.1, I think, and later.

        This is my first experience with a Linux version transition(From Mint 19.3 to Mint 20) but currently I’m staying on Mint 19.3 until Mint 20 has been released for 3 to 6 months and any issues get mostly worked out. I’ve got one new laptop that’s getting Linux Mint 20 as soon as the Linux Kernel 5.6/later gets packaged in the ISO for Download(Maybe by Mint 20.1’s release) from the Mint Website, but I’m fine with my older Laptops staying on Mint 19.3 currently as they are so old that more than likely they will have limited new features that need any support updates, other than security related updates, what with the laptop’s being so old. So I only expect some limited Graphics driver/other driver support there on that older hardware that’s pretty much working as fine as it can be expected to be with such mature hardware. And I’m only using the Open Source graphics drivers, and whatever drivers the laptops’ specific WiFi/Other hardware requires that comes packaged with the the Linux Kernel.

        The newest Laptop is running an AMD Ryzen 5 3550H/Vega Integrated Graphics and Radeon RX 560X Discrete Mobile GPU, under Windows 10/1909 Home currently. And that laptop’s Make/Model has a specific issue that requires Fan Driver/Fan Profile Fix that’s incoming with the Linux Kernel 5.6/later Kernel builds so that the laptop will not overheat and thermally throttle the CPU because the Fan remains stuck in Quiet mode after boot on any Linux Kernel below Kernel 5.6. So that’s getting Mint installed alongside Windows 10/1909 Home and I hope to transition to using the laptop booted into mostly Mint 20.0/20.1 and later Mint editions while Keeping Windows 10/Home around for legacy Windows usage just like my 4 older Mint and Windows 7/EOL dual boot laptops.

        I’ll probably just Backup my older laptops Home Directories and do clean Linux Mint 20 Install as I’m not really using but one of the older Mint 19.3/Win 7(EOL) laptop’s on a daily basis but I just may attempt an upgrade to see how that works out. But An update and all the older Kernels removed but one to fall back on is probably advisable. And really any firmware updates take near forever as that process has to go through each installed Kernel and build the firmware update into each and every installed kernel and that takes longer with each old installed kernel that remains after a new kernel is installed that supersedes the old ones.

        • #2282410 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          Mint 19.3 uses the Ubuntu 18.04 HWE (hardware enablement) kernel stack, which has been on 5.3 for some time now, but it has just moved to 5.4, so it was offered to you as a result.  That does mean that the 5.3 Ubuntu kernel (which is the one Mint uses too) is EOL. Not to worry; 5.4 is a solid kernel and it works well.

          Ubuntu 18.04 has three kernel stacks available. The standard version is currently on 4.15, the kernel that Mint 19, 19.1, and 19.2 came with as standard. It’s a LTS kernel, so it’s stayed on 4.15 for quite a while now.  Mint 19.3 moved to the HWE kernel stack, which was on version 5.0 at the time 19.3 was released. Now it’s on 5.4… it keeps going as the older versions of the kernel are EOL’d. That will probably stop now that the kernel is 5.4, which is the next LTS Ubuntu kernel after 4.15.

          The third stack is the HWE Edge stack, which is kind of like a preview version of what will become the HWE kernel. Right now, they’re the same, since the kernel that was being previewed is now officially in the HWE stack.

          When a new Ubuntu version is released, it will come with a newer kernel, and in time that kernel will usually be offered first in HWE Edge, tested to make sure everything works as expected, then released to HWE, for the current LTS versions of Ubuntu. The HWE Edge versions of 5.4 are what you were seeing in the Mint kernel dialog before as an option.

          There is also a HWE xserver stack, which is also the one used in Mint 19.3.  It’s used to support newer hardware too.

          People who are using Mint versions older than 19.3 can optionally install the HWE stack to get newer kernels or xserver versions, while still ensuring that they have been tested and verified by Ubuntu. The same applies to people using the actual Ubuntu versions that came with the original, standard kernel and xserverd stacks.  I do prefer to use newer kernels where possible, as they often have some nice improvements in power management, performance, and other things.

           

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.19.4).

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2282521 Reply
            anonymous
            Guest

            Thanks that was very helpful and informative and I’ll be getting my 3 other Mint 19.3/Win-7(EOL) dual boot laptops all updated with that 5.4 Kernel and the other updates as a whole slew of security oriented Mint updates that just arrived today July 22, 2020 as well.

            For my newest laptop that’s currently running 10/1909 Home I’ve estimated that I’ll have to wait for Mint 20.1 to get Linux Kernel 5.6, or later, if that’s included there so my newest laptop can run cool and not have it’s APU get thermally throttled and as always AMD’s newer APUs have a wait time for the full support to make its way into the Linux Kernel. And I’m on a 2nd generation Ryzen 5 3550H(Zen+)/Vega integrated graphics based APU that was first released in Q1 2019.

            So AMD’s just released the Ryzen 4000 series APUs that are Zen-2 based and it looks like there is a German Linux Laptop maker(1) updating its laptops to that 4000 series Ryzen generation of APUs. But I’m expecting that the future AMD Ryzen APU based laptops will get better Linux Kernel/Linux support quicker what with more Linux Based Laptop OEMs announcing products with Ryzen APUs inside like this laptop from TUXEDO Computers. So as far as support for newer AMD APU hardware on Linux as the AMD Zen-2/Earlier generations hardware begin to be offered by more Linux OS based Laptop OEMs that support really should improve for quicker inclusion of feature support in the Linux Kernel/Linux Distros ecosystem.

            From part of the Phoronix article:

            “Back in May the folks at TUXEDO Computers in Germany launched their first AMD Linux laptop. That device though was a letdown in being based on a previous-generation AMD Ryzen 3000 series mobile processor rather than the far better Ryzen 4000 “Renoir” processors. Fortunately, today they announced the Pulse 15 laptop that comes in Ryzen 5 4600H and Ryzen 7 4800H processor options.” (1)

            (1)

            “TUXEDO Computers Launches A Linux Laptop With Ryzen 7 4800H / Ryzen 5 4600H
            Written by Michael Larabel in AMD on 21 July 2020 at 08:58 AM EDT.”

            https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=TUXEDO-Pulse-15-AMD-Ryzen

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