Here’s my experiences with upgrading from Ubuntu 11.04 to 12.04 on virtual machines (VirtualBox and Parallels), on a MacBook Pro.
My initial setup was Ubuntu 11.04 running on VirtualBox 4.1.14 (the free/OSS VM software from Oracle/Sun). Upgrading to 12.04 requires first upgrading to 11.10, so after snapshotting my VM, I attempted upgrading to 11.10 using Ubuntu’s GUI Update Manager. Although the 11.10 packages all downloaded, and the upgrade nearly completed, the Update Manager went into a strange loop and kept popping up error windows, and the UI become unusable, forcing me to restart the VM. On bootup, the VM froze at the Ubuntu splashscreen, so I restored my pre-upgrade snapshot and retried the upgrade process several times, each time failing identically. After some investigating, it appeared that postgresql packages were causing the problem, so I used Synaptic package manager to find and uninstall all postgresql packages. I then tried upgrading again to 11.10 — this time, the upgrade seemed to complete successfully, but on restart, the VM froze again at the Ubuntu splashscreen. At this point I didn’t want to waste any more time, and decided to try out different VM software.
The two alternatives to VirtualBox are of course VMWare Fusion and Parallels. After reading some reviews, I decided to go with Parallels (I’d had a pretty good experience with an older version several years ago). Although VirtualBox is open source (+1), it’s currently owned by Oracle (-1 (for their patent trolling)), so the thought of switching away didn’t bother me that much. I was able to pretty easily import my VirtualBox VM into Parallels (using the ‘Add Existing Virtual Machine‘ feature, and selecting the appropriate
.vbox file). I then upgraded the Ubuntu install on the VM (running on Parallels) to 11.10 without incident.
I then upgraded to 12.04. After the reboot to complete the 12.04 upgrade process, there were two problems:
- The error message “an error occurred while mounting psf” (meaning broken Parallels Shared Folders)
- The mouse not working in the VM
Fixing these problems required reinstalling Parallels Tools (without using the mouse!). Luckily some keyboard shortcuts came in handy: after rebooting with the fresh 12.04 upgrade, use
Ctrl-Alt-t to open a terminal window. Then
cd /media/Parallels\ Tools/, and run
sudo ./install --install. Finally,
sudo shutdown -r now, and you’ll reboot into a fully working Ubuntu 12.04 setup.