Moving to the Next Ubuntu Release
So now your system is up-to-date. But then you learn of a new Ubuntu release. Should you move to it, and if so, how do you do it? Well, to answer the first question you have to understand that Ubuntu 6.06, which comes with this book, is a little bit special. Ubuntu currently releases a new version every six months and supports those releases for 18 months. However, 6.06 is going to be supported for three years on the desktop. That means that you don't need to move from 6.06 until 2009 when security support runs out. However, 6.10 (due for release in October 2006) is only going to be supported for the normal 18 months.
So what does this mean for you? If 6.06 works for you and you don't like upgrading to a new version of Ubuntu every six months or so, I would recommend you stay with it until April 2009 when you can upgrade to the next long-supported version of Ubuntu. But if you like to see the latest stable versions, you can keep upgrading every six months.
Doing the Actual Upgrade
Until Ubuntu 6.06 came along, upgrading was not quite as easy as it sounds. There were a few text files you had to edit and then some manual tweaking to be done. The upgrade from 5.10 to more recent versions should be easier as there is now a graphical tool that tells you when a new version of Ubuntu is available, and it walks you through the upgrade process. Note that if you already know or want to learn the manual method that is fine, too. Both means will achieve the same result.
When a new release is available, the update manager will tell you that a new version is available. Click on the Upgrade button to start the process. You will first be shown the release notes, which mention new features or any outstanding bugs. After you click on the Upgrade button on this screen, the necessary changes to your software repositories are made and then the program will download and install the new distribution. You may be prompted if you have changed any configuration files. After the actual installation is complete, you will be told which packages are no longer supported (have moved to universe). Last, all you need to do is restart your computer when prompted, and you will shortly be enjoying the new release.