Richard Freeman on 18 Dec 2009 07:26:10 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] converting 32 -> 64 bit

On 12/18/2009 08:46 AM, Art Alexion wrote:
> As far as I know, there is no upgrade path; I would have to install a clean
> system.  I was thinking of the following steps:
> * Copy or move /home to a separate partition.
> * Same with /usr/local and /opt.
> * Figure out some way to capture current non-default packages[*] so that I can
> script their reinstall, if possible.
> * Install a fresh 64 bit  version from scratch.
> * Reattach /home, /usr/local and /opt
> * reinstall the non-default packages

Disclaimer - I don't run ubuntu, so there might be some more automated 
or better ways of doing this.

What you propose is probably what I would do.  Other places that might 
have some personalization might be in /var (often /var/www or whatever 
is in there - if you have apache running).

Unless you run almost completely-default configs, you might want to save 
a copy of /etc for reference.  I'd definitely at least have a copy even 
if you don't need it - as you can just copy back anything critical that 
you find you've lost (httpd.conf comes to mind).

I know that for gentoo you can just save your /etc/portage, make.conf, 
and /var/lib/portage/world files and copy them to a new install, and 
then an "emerge -pu world" will install all non-default packages just 
like you had them before.  I don't know how the debian package manager 
works well enough to know if you can do something similar there.

One thing you probably do want to do is distinguish between packages you 
care about and stuff that you got because they are dependencies.  I'm 
not sure if dpkg/etc supports this (I know gentoo does it - I imagine 
that other distros do as well).

Finally, if you have the space copy your entire existing system (root 
and all) to some directory somewhere so that if you find you need 
something you can get it back.  You can always delete it in a few months 
if you need the space.  Plus, you can always copy it back to your root 
and you're back where you started.  In fact, with LVM if you have the 
space you could just leave the old partition intact and just change the 
mount points around.

Good luck.  I've been running 64-bit for many years now and it really is 
hitting the point where almost everything works.  Java and Flash still 
can create problems, but almost everything else is spot-on (and Java is 
WAY better than it used to be).

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