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To Upgrade or Fresh Install

This past Ubuntu release, I did a fresh install, rather than upgrade my machine. You see, I've been upgrading it since Breezy, and well, I felt that I was experiencing some sort of operating system bloat. Edgy had been getting relatively slow and it seemed like more and more of my precious RAM was getting eaten alive. All-in-all, I wasn't enjoying my computing.

So, when Feisty hit the streets, I did a fresh install, and it was like new life had been breathed into my laptop. And, for the first time in my Linux career, wireless worked! I don't blame wireless not working on Linux, because it was spotty at best on Windows. That's what you get, when you try to save money on a laptop, and end up purchasing one that is hardware modified by the laptop manufacturer. So in other words, I've never really experienced wireless on this machine, so I've never missed it. But I've gone off topic. Suffice it to say, wireless works great now, even with WEP & WPA. Thanks Feisty!

So, at any rate, I did a new install with Feisty on this machine, and things are running smoothly again. But, then this got me thinking. The fact that I've let my machine slip into a bloated state is no person's fault but my own. I should be able to administrate my system better. In fact, I should be able to administrate it to the point, where upgrades shouldn't feel any different than a fresh install. Am I wrong in thinking this?

I look back at my Windows days and see the same thing happening. From Windows 98 to Windows ME to Windows XP, they were all upgrades, and the operating system slowed to a crawl. Some how, bloat had entered the computer. I don't blame Windows necessarily, as much as my lack to decently administer an operating system. However, all the mailing list posts, and forums posts say the same thing: don't upgrade. Do a fresh install instead.

So, I come to a crossroads, I think. Obviously, it takes some time and effort to keep your system administered, clean, and running smoothly. It is hard work. But, I don't think new upgrades are easier. I have software and config files on my system just the way I want it, and to install fresh, means to backup all those configuration files and data as well as installing all the software that I love and use. So, I don't think a fresh install is any easier than keeping your system maintained from upgrade to upgrade. In fact, I would think that doing a fresh install, rather than an upgrade, is a cop-out from actual work at your computer.

I'm interested on thoughts about this. Upon each new Ubuntu release, should I upgrade, keeping my system tuned, and in decent running order, or should I do a fresh install?

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