Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana) is now available for use by the General Public. This is the latest Long Term Release (LTS) of the awesome Linux Mint operating system. Linux Mint 20 is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, the latest long-term support releases of Ubuntu. It features the Linux Kernel 5.4 and it will receive security updates until 2025. There are three editions of Mint 20 that users can choose from:

  • Cinnamon: An edition featuring the Cinnamon desktop
  • MATE: An edition featuring the MATE desktop
  • Xfce: An edition featuring the Xfce desktop

You can visit the Downloads page for links to each edition of Linux Mint. We don’t recommend any specific edition to the end user. It is up to you to pick a variant of Linux Mint 20 that works for you best. This tutorial is geared toward upgrade to Linux Mint 20 from old Linux Mint 19 Desktop operating system.

Upgrade from Linux Mint 19 to Linux Mint 20

Confirm the current release of Linux Mint you’re running:

$ cat /etc/os-release 
NAME="Linux Mint"
VERSION="19.2 (Tina)"
ID=linuxmint
ID_LIKE=ubuntu
PRETTY_NAME="Linux Mint 19.2"
VERSION_ID="19.2"
HOME_URL="https://www.linuxmint.com/"
SUPPORT_URL="https://forums.ubuntu.com/"
BUG_REPORT_URL="http://linuxmint-troubleshooting-guide.readthedocs.io/en/latest/"
PRIVACY_POLICY_URL="https://www.linuxmint.com/"
VERSION_CODENAME=tina
UBUNTU_CODENAME=bionic

From the output it can be confirmed I’m running Mint 19.2. I’ll first perform minor upgrade to Mint 19.3.

Start the Update Manager software to check if there are any minor upgrades available.

Navigate to Edit >Upgrade to “Linux Mint 19.x” depending on version available.

Initiate OS Minor upgrades by clicking “Next

Agree that you understand the risks related to upgrade.

Click the “Apply” button to initiate upgrade of Linux Mint.

Confirm the system is upgraded.

$ sudo reboot
$ cat /etc/os-release 
NAME="Linux Mint"
VERSION="19.3 (Tricia)"
ID=linuxmint
ID_LIKE=ubuntu
PRETTY_NAME="Linux Mint 19.3"
VERSION_ID="19.3"
HOME_URL="https://www.linuxmint.com/"
SUPPORT_URL="https://forums.ubuntu.com/"
BUG_REPORT_URL="http://linuxmint-troubleshooting-guide.readthedocs.io/en/latest/"
PRIVACY_POLICY_URL="https://www.linuxmint.com/"
VERSION_CODENAME=tricia
UBUNTU_CODENAME=bionic

Before upgrade

I recommend you perform backup of important files on your Linux Mint 19 to an external storage device before performing the upgrade. If running Mint 19 on a VM consider taking a snapshot for rollback incase things go South.

At the OS level, Timeshift can be used to backup the operating system. Install Timeshift on your Linux Mint with the following commnands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install timeshift

Launch TimeShift on your Linux Mint Desktop.

Create a Snapshot by clicking the “Create” button.

Upgrade from Linux Mint 19 to Linux Mint 20

We need to install a Linux Mint upgrade tool that we’ll use to upgrade from Linux Mint 19 to Linux Mint 20.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install mintupgrade -y

Check for available upgrades:

$ mintupgrade check

This is a simulation of the upgrade with below output:

Executing 'check'. This will perform the following:
    
    1 - Your repositories will be switched to point to Linux Mint 20 'Ulyana' and
        any 3rd party repositories will be removed. A backup of your APT sources
        will be written to /home/parallels/Upgrade-Backup-tricia/APT.
    
    2 - The upgrade will be simulated so impacted packages can be evaluated.
    
    Your sources will be restored to Linux Mint 19.3 'Tricia' at the end of this command.

    Do you want to continue? [y/n]: y
.....

This command temporarily points your system to the Linux Mint 20 repositories and calculates the impact of an upgrade. The command doesn’t affect your system. After the simulation is finished, your original repositories are restored.

Take note of the exit status. If it is successful it means you can upgrade your Linux Mint.

Do you want to continue? [Y/n] N
Abort.

  + Command 'check' completed successfully


  + Restoring your backed up APT sources...

Next is to download the package updates by running the command below.

$ mintupgrade download
Executing 'download'. This will perform the following:
    
    1 - Your repositories will be switched to point to Linux Mint 20 'Ulyana' and
        any 3rd party repositories will be removed. A backup of your APT sources
        will be written to /home/parallels/Upgrade-Backup-tricia/APT.
    
    2 - The packages and updates to perform the upgrade will be downloaded.
    
    Your sources will be restored to Linux Mint 19.3 'Tricia' at the end of this command.

    Do you want to continue? [y/n]: y
.....
Get:1909 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu focal/main amd64 xbrlapi amd64 6.0+dfsg-4ubuntu6 [63.8 kB]
Get:637 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu focal/main amd64 poppler-data all 0.4.9-2 [1,475 kB]
Fetched 1,266 MB in 20min 18s (1,040 kB/s)
Download complete and in download only mode
Command 'download' completed successfully
Restoring your backed up APT sources…

Once the packages for the upgrade have been downloaded, perform the actual upgrade of Linux Mint 19 to Linux Mint 20.

$ mintupgrade upgrade
Executing 'upgrade'. This will perform the following:
    
    1 - Your repositories will be switched to point to Linux Mint 20 'Ulyana' and
        any 3rd party repositories will be removed. A backup of your APT sources
        will be written to /home/parallels/Upgrade-Backup-tricia/APT.
    
    2 - The packages and updates to perform the upgrade will be downloaded.
    
    3 - Upon confirmation, the upgrade will be performed. It is very important not to interrupt this
        step. You may be required to interact or re-authenticate during the upgrade.

    Do you want to continue? [y/n]: y

The upgrade step is non-reversible. Once you perform it, the only way to go back is by restoring a system snapshot.

When prompted during upgrade to restart services, choose Yes.

Reboot the system after upgrade:

$ sudo systemctl reboot

Check OS release after reboot.

Downgrading foreign packages

After the upgrade, it is possible to have some packages with lower version in Linux Mint 20 than in Linux Mint 19.3. You have to perform downgrade to guarantee they function properly.

Launch the Software Sources tool from Menu > Administration > Software Sources.

Open the Maintenance tab > Downgrade Foreign Packages.

Select all foreign packages and click Downgrade.

Deletion of foreign packages

Some packages no longer exist in Linux Mint 20 and can safely be removed. This is done under the Maintenance tab by clicking on Remove Foreign Packages.

Conclusion

You should now be running Linux Mint 20 after an upgrade from Linux Mint 19. If your machine fails to boot after an upgrade, boot from the live Linux Mint 19.3 ISO and initiate Boot Repair to fix the boot sequence. For total failure, boot from the live Linux Mint iso again, and launch Timeshift. Timeshift is able to scan your drives from the live session and restore your snapshot from there.

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