The pace at which new versions of the various Linux distros are released is certainly fast and perhaps that is a testament to the true power of the open source movement. Various players in the open source arena have been talking about the year of desktop Linux and so far there is no defining year that has been deemed deserving of that title. While competing platforms supporters may deride such claims, they would do well to recognize the pace at which changes are taking place in the Linux movement. It is true that the sheer number of distros available can be bewildering but at the same time the same (truth) can also be said of the improvements of the some of the more popular distributions each with about two releases in a year generally speaking. So, the latest release of the now popular Ubuntu Linux is the Gutsy Gibbon (interesting names these releases have) and it features a number of improvements which are quite interesting.
However, as much as I am proud of the fact that improvements are being made to the Linux OS through the various distros there remain a number of concerns that perhaps may need to be addressed. I can’t quite speak of myself as a Linux guru by any standards but I am figuring my way around the system with each day of use. I have been successful in installing Ubuntu on a dedicate machine and over time I have replicated the necessary environment I need to pursue what I am most interested in which on the Linux platform would include application development in Java and the LAMP stack though I also spend time exploring other related open source products such as PostgreSQL which can be a straight forward replacement for the more popular MySQL. The more time I spend working with Ubuntu Linux the more natural and straight forward it feels; I am getting used to how things work though there are moments in which I notice the glaring short comings of an ever evolving OS such as Linux in general and Ubuntu as a distribution. However with the rapid changes that are coming out of the respective communities these short comings are increasingly being address. To this end, I like working with Ubuntu and as such would like to have access to the latest and greatest releases that are available.
The aforementioned installation of Ubuntu, in my case was done when Feisty Fawn was the current release. I have always intended to upgrade to any new releases as they become accessible to me so it was with great expectations that I downloaded Gutsy. I tried installing Gutsy, hoping for a prompt to upgrade from my current Feisty installation but never got any; instead I was treated to a partition configuration section of the installer. Before you start giving me helpful suggestion, Feisty Fawn did make me aware of the availability of Gutsy. The only problem with that is that my internet connection is not fast enough to download 1.1 GB worth of data needed to upgrade my Feisty installation. 1.1GB will take some time to download over my internet connection and will most definitely require a download manager so that the process can be resumed at later date/time. Please notice that the interruption of the download process, taking into the account the slow internet connection, is virtually guaranteed: the internet connection may go down for any number of reason as it does usually and more importantly power may not be guaranteed for the duration of the time required to complete the download of the data (keeping in mind the slow internet connection). So, I have googled the world wide web without much success so far; I mean there has got to be a way to upgrade Ubuntu in place without creating new partitions or doing away with my current setup; yeah, the online upgrade option is definitely out of the question.
Lets look at this from a more philosophical perspective: Linux and Ubuntu specifically are open source which means that not much money is paid to acquire, use and distribute the software as long as the terms of the license are adhered to by all. So from that premise it is plausible to postulate that the users of this OS may not be connected to the internet, if at all but they still need to upgrade their systems to the latest releases. A way to do this upgrade offline without wiping out the previous installation would be a huge plus.