Hands-On: Updating Fedora 23 to 24 via Gnome Software

One month after the release of Fedora 24, it is now possible to upgrade a Fedora 23 system to 24 by using the Gnome Software utility. Here is my experience with this upgrade path.

It feels like it has been even more than a month since the release of Fedora 24 was announced. I have already installed the new release from scratch on most of my laptops, but I specifically held back my Acer Aspire Z3 all-in-one desktop system so that I could try out the promised upgrade using the Gnome Software utility.

I have been checking the Software utility periodically, and I finally saw the notice today that an update for Gnome 3.20 was available which would make it possible to upgrade to Fedora 24.

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When I clicked on Restart & Install it immediately rebooted to the update installation process (this is normal), which took about 5 minutes to download and install the latest updates for Fedora 23 and then reboot again.

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When it came back up the Software program immediately wanted to tell me about the updates that had been installed (this is also normal).

This is a mildly interesting list, so you might want to review it. The important thing here is Gnome Software 3.20.4, because that is the version which supports updating via the GUI.

When I closed this window, I was immediately informed by the Software utility that the Fedora 24 upgrade was available for installation.

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The availability notice window has two buttons at the bottom. Clicking Learn More takes you to the Fedora Magazine article What's New in Fedora 24 Workstation. That gives an overview of five or six of the most important changes in Fedora 24.

Clicking the other button, Download, actually starts retrieving the packages needed for the upgrade, and shows a status bar of the download progress.

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The download may take some time, but it is nowhere near as long as downloading a complete new ISO installation image - this is one of the major advantages of upgrading vs. reinstalling from scratch.

When the download is complete this window is displayed, encouraging you to make a backup before starting the upgrade (very good advice).

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Clicking the Install button brings up this final confirmation window.

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This is the last chance to turn back - clicking Restart & Install causes an immediate reboot, and the update installation process actually begins.

Because the download has already been completed, the update process doesn't take very long - it should take 10 minutes or less on most systems.

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When the update finished, the system rebooted one more time and came back up to the Fedora 24 login screen. After I logged in, I was once again presented with the list of updates that had been installed. This time the list is much longer, of course, because the operating system, utilities and applications have all been updated.

That completes the GUI upgrade process. There is no doubt that some users will find this is easier than the traditional Fedora CLI upgrade process, which is done via the CLI using the DNF utility. That process is described in detail in the Fedora Magazone article Upgrading Fedora 23 Workstation to Fedora 24. However, if you are an experienced Linux user, and you are not reluctant to use CLI utilities, the upgrade using DNF is not difficult, it is well documented in the Fedora Magazine article, and it was available at the time of the Fedora 24 release, about a month sooner than this GUI upgrade process.

The other thing to consider, of course, is whether you want/need to make this upgrade at all. If you already have Fedora 23 installed and it is working normally, with support for all of the hardware in your computer, you might choose to stay with that, rather then take the time and incur the risk of upgrading.

The Fedora Release Life Cycle policy states that each release will be supported until one month after the second release following it (Fedora 22 End of Life was announced on July 19 2016, one month after the release of Fedora 23). This means that Fedora 23 will still be supported until after the release of Fedora 25, which is currently scheduled for 8 November 2016. Considering Fedora's track record of slipping release dates, that very likely means that a system running Fedora 23 is going to be supported until the beginning of next year.

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