Not working: upgrading Ubuntu from 14.04 to 16.x

I was upgrading Ubuntu from 14.04 to 16.x. I am new to Ubuntu. This is my first question on Ask Ubuntu.

It went well till well till the end. It downloaded all the new packages. While installing, towards the end I got following errors.

Could not install "initscripts."

The it gave the following message.

"Upgrade will continue, but the initscripts pakages may not be working safe. Please submit a bug report.

"subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 1."

It gave following additional errors.

Couldnot install "plymuth."

"subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 1."

Couldnot install "cgmanager."

"subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 1."

Couldnot install "rfupdown."

"subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 1."

Couldnot install the updrages.

The update has aborted.Your systemshould be in an unstable stage. A recovery will run now (dpkg-configure-a).

It showed version 16.x but with only one option. Shut-down. I did that. Then i had to install earlier version of 14.04 through factory image.

What do I do now?

did you try installing more than once? were you able to update and upgrade all of your packages on 14.04 before attempting the upgrade to 16.x?

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Frankly, Ubuntu upgrades don’t work. I have yet to meet a person that never had an issue with Ubuntu upgrades.

Therefore, it is recommended that one backs up everything needed (most of the time /home is sufficient to back up), then does a completely fresh installation of the newer OS version, after wiping the old one and then finally restoring the backup made in the first step.


Yes. I did. I updated and then upgraded all my packages on 14.04. In fact I did that after reading the following post from @abhishek.

I did the above two times. But the end result was the same.

Thank you @Akito. How do I do a fresh installation?

i’m glad you posted that. i was about to agree with @Akito that a fresh install sounded like it would be easier all things considered. it might also be a good idea to consider moving to 20.04 or at least 18.04 instead of 16.04 which will go beyond regular end of life early next year.

here is @abhishek’s guide to a fresh install of 20.04:

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Akito - meet Dan :smiley: - c’est moi!

I’ve lost count of the number of upgrades I’ve done between releases… e.g. from a rolling release to an LTS - one system I had started life as 16.10, updated to 17.04, 17.10, 18.04 LTS etc… most recently, on about 5 different computers, 18.04.4 to 20.04 (and right now I’m doing an 18.04.5 to 20.04.1 “do-release-upgrade”). I’m pretty sure the laptop I was using at work back in 2014, started off with Ubuntu 12.10, then updated to 13.04, 13.10, then 14.04 LTS… kept going till 2015 sometime (I didn’t bother updating to non LTS 15.04 - these days I’m mostly sticking to LTS releases).

However - having said this - let me admit, I’ve never updated from 14.04 to 16.04… in 2016 I was mostly using elementary OS, and they’re notorious for being unable to do ANY release upgrades, and they admit it - openly - it’s on their download sites and readmes etc… I was running Freya back then - and couldn’t upgrade to Loki release… been the same with every release… If you’re running elementary OS 5.1 Hera, and you want 6.0 Odin - you have to wipe your Hera and install Odin “afresh”, which kinda stinks…

Also - having said the above - I’ve run into dependancy nightmares during updates and upgrades, ESPECIALLY if I’ve added PPAs to my apt config (I do not add PPAs to my systems anymore) - and found resolving these issues more complex and time consuming than a fresh re-install of the O/S…


That’s weird. Even my friend who is an avid Kubuntu user for so many years, always does a fresh install on each new release, because every previous upgrade of his failed miserably.

Well, maybe there is a difference in this aspect between the different Ubuntu derivatives? Maybe the DE already can break stuff, I dont know.

It probably has lots to do with how much and what type of third party software you have installed. If you have a lot of custom modifications, I can imagine things breaking much easier and faster.

One thing I know that’s broken about upgrading Ubuntu Server releases - e.g. 14.04 to 16.04 - the names of the NIC devices got changed, e.g. eth0 becomes ens160 - and it breaks your system - e.g. if your server is in a data centre and you don’t have an iLOM you’re up sh!t creek (and you hope and pray the data centre is in the same town!), or a VM on ESX - you gotta tweak it on the VMware console - and that’s a real PITA - e.g. no copy and paste or anything…

I am currently a Ubuntu 18.04 LTS novice getting used to the environment, which I have started liking it too (wondering, why did I ever chose earlier to go to Windows at all?). I have also successfully installed a couple of need based packages of my liking based on articles on the internet in the recent past, apart from study of the Linux Manual. My experience so far has been exhilarating!
Very recently my computer has started flashing the availability of Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS Upgrade. Based on your experience as stated above, I am likely to confront upgrading issues with some of the packages I have chosen for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, I am sure. This is like getting invited for a debugging experience (may be even a harrowing one), each time you go for an Upgrade.
If and when I decide to go for (may not be in the very near future) Ubuntu 20.04.1, does it mean that I have to go through the rigmarole of once again re-installing some of the need based non-compatible packages of Ubuntu 18.04? That would be really unproductive! Isn’t there an easier way out?

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If I were you, I would first back up everything, entirely. There are a lot of explanations in this forum on backups, already, so you will find enough material to go through.
Once I confirmed that my backup is working as I want it to work, I would just go ahead and upgrade. If there are any issues, I would fix tiny ones, but if I would find bigger ones, I would just restore the backup and therefore effectively revert the OS to the exact pre-upgrade state.
After reverting the upgrade i.e. restoring from backup, I would write installation scripts for the programs that are not easy to install on Ubuntu. I would also check if dependencies are fine in the new Ubuntu (sometimes dependencies can also be too new, not only too old). If the dependencies are fine, I would propably freshly install the OS, then install everything neatly and use these installation scripts I created earlier. If the dependencies are not fine, I would wrap the apps that are harder to install on Ubuntu, in Docker images, too.

That said, it all depends on your setup and what you are actually trying to do. Above recommendation is just a generic template and needs to be adjusted to each situation.

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I shall think over the upgrade issue and decide after a while, because I find that several hassles are being highlighted in the Forum by (new) users who have recently installed Ubuntu 20.04.1 (apart from the ‘snap’ controversy). May be one has to wait for a while for the latest upgrade to stabilize further. Backing up coupled with a fresh clean install, to my mind and in my situation, appears to be the safest and most viable option. I hope I am proved right eventually.
Thank you for your observations and recommendations made.

Inspired by this thread, I just tried upgrading my Kubuntu 18.04 to 20.04 by
sudo do-release-upgrade -m desktop
and it worked without problems.


It’s reassuring to learn of such rare instances when an upgrade goes through without a hitch. Congrats!

Thanks! However, I never had many issues with upgrades at home: I switched from Suse to Kubuntu in 2014 when 14.04 was the current LTS and I have always done the release upgrades when a new LTS became available. I changed my computer last year without doing a fresh install, just switched the hard drive.

At work though, I have known some issues because for some policy, upgrades and updates couldn’t always be done in a timely fashion.

The only thing, I can complain about with the current upgrade was that at the final step, it didn’t inform me that I had to reboot manually. The screen just went blank with a blinking cursor. I left it like that for 15 minutes or so and when nothing happened, I (slightly panicked) just pressed the power button and the new system just came up fine.

Maybe not too rare. I upgraded Linux Mint 19.3 on my laptop to Mint 20.0 with only a couple of minor
problems. And that was 2 months ago.

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I’ve done the 18.04.x to 20.04.x upgrade “waltz” 6 times on 5 different computers…

Did one from 18.04.4 to 20.04.0 with “sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade && sudo do-release-upgrade” in late April - was smooth as… no dramas… so did it everywhere else too…

Why 6 times on 5 computers?

The most recent was was clean install of 18.04.5, I installed the packages I need that won’t install on 20.04.x (mainly Checkpoint SNX CLI VPN client and its dependancies) upgraded to 20.04.1 - it was painless - the re-install was because I decided to go back and do encryption of “/” from the installer (instead of using veracrypt), as I travel with this laptop, and don’t want sensitive data to fall into the wrong hands…

So - it’s been my experience that 18.04.5 to 20.04.1 is painless and issue free…

BTW - I only run the default Ubuntu gnome DE… nothing else…


Your painless and issue-free migration from 18,04.5 to 20.04.1 is heartening, Daniel. It emboldens me to switch over soon, as I am still in 18.04.5.