From the Shell, Upgrading Linux Mint 17.3 to 18

The Problem & the History Behind It

I have an old (2008) MacBook that was gifted to me long ago… It was already outdated and since I am not a fan of Macs in general, the OS in particular so I tried to find a way to at least dual boot to a Linux distro. Something easy as it was going to be used by my Bride when she needed something more powerful than her tablet. She just wants things to work and does not want to delving into configurations or set-ups of browsers or programmes.

I found I had to use a third party programme to edit the EFI (rEFIt I think it was called), then possibly I could do it. I followed the instructions (I thought) to be able dual boot Linux Mint, (something I knew to be quite user friendly). Well that didn’t work too well, or so I thought.

When I rebooted I got nothing but a grey screen seemingly forever and ever. Just as I was about to put in the apple utility disk again suddenly appeared the LM logo. But that was it. No dual boot, no apple OS.

Evidently, somehow I had set up Mint to take up the whole hard drive! No problem, in fact even better as far as I was concerned. I made sure everything worked and was up to date, created user profiles that were needed and away we went.

Now to that problem I mentioned… Linux Mint was only supported ’till 2019. No more updates to programmes or security updates available. As I am the type that likes to keep everything up to date I figured this was only OK for while as we both deal with our personal information and wanted a new(er) more secure OS.

The Solution

The Linux Mint site said one could only upgrade to Linux Mint 19.xx from Mint 18.xx and I was back on 17.3. So could I at least get to Mint 18.xx? Well I found I could!

(Those of you familiar with Linux probably have this solution at your fingertips. I started to learn Linux rebuilding an old Vista (remember that one?) machine until it died. I was forced to buy a new laptop so I do not have that level of expertise at the Shell.)

Since I did not have a blank DVD handy and the MacBook will not boot from USB I found an article on the the site TecMint that gave detailed instructions, though totally though the shell. I printed the page to PDF and put the file on a USB Drive so I could refer to it on my Windows laptop in case I mucked things up though it turned out I could folllow in the browser as I was doing this.

Especially handy was instruction:
2. “Launch a terminal, then click on Edit  Profile Preferences  Scrolling and select the unlimited checkbox and mark “scroll on output” option and finally click “Close”.

Although never fully explained as to why I was to do this I followed this, and all other instructions, to the letter and after I did the Update/Upgrade I found the reason. During the scrolling output I noticed a message saying something would not load and to run another command later. As the shell kept scrolling away I then realized that when finished I could Select All > Copy then paste the entire session to my Text Editor and save it to find out what had gone awry.

It turned out to be this message:

” It seems install-docs is not fully functional at the moment,
and it will try to recover from the error next time it is called.
Please run `install-docs –install-changed’ command
manually after the upgrade process is finished. “

Also searching for other codewords like “Error” and “Missing” I found no other issues. I did run the command above after finishing with no result showing and again this morning with the same result (perhaps Linux Mint is now at version 19.xx) so I just downloaded the official documentation from Linux Mint and put it in each profile.

So I learned something new yesterday. I tried it. It worked and I am a Happy Camper 🙂 😀 . Now I’ll take a break before proceeding with an upgrade to Mint 19.xx. But first I’ll check the hardware needed as this machine is now almost 12 years old and I’m not sure how much longer I can keep doing this although I have read of others using Pentium II machines with current versions of Linux.