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Upgrading the old OS vs. fresh installation of the new OS

I'd especially like to hear from those of you who are Linux consultants or sysadmins.  This is a timely topic given that Debian Squeeze moved from the testing branch to the stable branch.

Which do you prefer: Upgrading the old OS or doing a fresh installation?  I learn towards a fresh installation.

One the one hand, upgrading the old OS is fast and requires no downtime IF everything goes well.  Of course, that is one big IF, and I'm not sure if things have ever gone perfectly in the entire history of the world.  Some things change from one version of Debian to the next, and what worked in the old version won't work at all in the new version, especially in the area of configuration files.  The more packages you have installed, the more problems you'll have.

On the other hand, a fresh installation bypasses the upgrade issues.  You can always just repeat the installation procedure from the previous version of Debian and make adjustments when appropriate.  You need to properly back up the personal/company files in this case, but you'd have to do that anyway as a precaution if you use the upgrade route.

What do you think?

Jason Hsu <jhsu802701@jasonhsu.com>

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