This server's software updates were falling a bit behind for some time. Ubuntu 18.04 "Bionic Beaver" was released in April 2018. That means we've not been on the latest release for 15 whole months. Whoops!

The Server

This site's web server is hosted on a virtual machine provided by DigitalOcean, who have been really outstanding in their service since I started with them years ago. I have some other services running on the same virtual machine, unrelated to this blog, but those aren't worth mentioning here.

Preparations

I expect things to go awry especially with any kind of significant software upgrade. I run backups of this site to ensure that if anything does happen, I can always roll back to a previous, known working version. These backups are of the entire VM image itself, so even if the whole thing gets corrupted or goes to hell in some other way, it's painless to recover. All it requires is the click of a button and some time.

Upgrade Process

DigitalOcean has done an excellent job making the upgrade process very simple. Once I verified that all my backups were good to go, all I had to do was sudo do-release-upgrade. A full guide is available from DigitalOcean's how-to page.

When I first ran that command, it was suggested by the application that I not do this over SSH. This meant that the only good way to begin and monitor the upgrade would be through DigitalOcean's own web console. I killed the SSH session and went through the web console, which according to DigitalOcean is equivalent to connecting a keyboard and terminal directly to the machine. Shrug?

After initiating it a second time through the suggested method, it asked me if I was really sure I wanted to do this. After agreeing to the process, it turned into a flurry of text. (Much preferable to a simple progress bar, mind.) I was asked which version of some of my configuration files I wanted to keep. In both cases, I looked at the changes very carefully. (I generally don't trust automated processes to understand intent behind raw data like that.)

After those couple prompts, it churned some more and proudly informed me that the upgrade was complete, and that the system would be rebooted. Cool!

When the system came back up, I checked the blog, fully expecting things to be in disarray. Interestingly, everything seemed to work out of the box. I triple checked the web server configurations just to be sure they weren't tampered with during the upgrade process. All seemed well.

Conclusion

I know this post is pretty light! But I want to increase the frequency at which I add new material to the site. I figured letting everyone know that it's still being kept up to date (and maybe offering some confidence in DigitalOcean's upgrade process) might be a fun little nugget to fill the gap for the time being.

More music and code things are on the horizon.