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openSUSE:Tumbleweed upgrade

tagline: From openSUSE

In the context of this article 'Upgrade' means 'moving from an older openSUSE release (eg. openSUSE 13.2 or Leap) to Tumbleweed.

There are 2 supported upgrade mechanisms

  • Offline Upgrade - This uses the DVD to boot the system, and upgrade
  • Online Upgrade - This changes the repositories on an existing openSUSE Installation and upgrades while the system is online

Offline upgrade is slightly safer as there is no chance of running applications interfering with the Upgrade process

Online upgrade is a little more convenient as it can be done while a system is running, and doesn't require a full DVD download

Offline Upgrade

Offline Upgrade only requires a few steps

  1. Download the appropriate DVD Media, and burn it to a DVD or USB Stick
  2. Boot the DVD or USB Stick
  3. Choose Upgrade
  4. Follow the Wizard, which will detect which openSUSE installations you have on your machine and offer to upgrade them.

Online Upgrade

There are three tasks needed in order to Online upgrade from any release to Tumbleweed:

  1. Install the current online updates of the old distribution, if any. (Mostly needed for openSUSE 13.2 to fix a kernel issue during migration. On 13.2 also reboot the machine before proceeding.)
  2. Changing repositories to point to Tumbleweed
  3. Running zypper dup (which is shorthand for zypper dist-upgrade) to upgrade all packages


Start by removing the existing repos:

mkdir /etc/zypp/repos.d/old
mv /etc/zypp/repos.d/*.repo /etc/zypp/repos.d/old

Then add the new repos

zypper ar -f -c http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/repo/oss repo-oss
zypper ar -f -c http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/repo/non-oss repo-non-oss
zypper ar -f -c http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/repo/debug repo-debug
zypper ar -f -c http://download.opensuse.org/update/tumbleweed/ repo-update

Optionally you can also add the repos for the sources, usually you'd use OBS for that purpose.

zypper ar -f -d -c http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/repo/src-oss repo-src-oss
zypper ar -f -d -c http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/repo/src-non-oss repo-src-non-oss

The resulting list of repositories should look like this:

# zypper lr -u
 # | Alias             | Name              | Enabled | Refresh | URI
 1 | repo-debug        | repo-debug        | Yes     | Yes     | http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/repo/debug
 2 | repo-non-oss      | repo-non-oss      | Yes     | Yes     | http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/repo/non-oss
 3 | repo-oss          | repo-oss          | Yes     | Yes     | http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/repo/oss
 4 | repo-src-non-oss  | repo-src-non-oss  | No      | Yes     | http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/repo/src-non-oss
 5 | repo-src-oss      | repo-src-oss      | No      | Yes     | http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/repo/src-oss
 6 | update            | repo-update       | Yes     | Yes     | http://download.opensuse.org/update/tumbleweed/

The update repo is usually empty and only used as a last resort, when the next snapshot of tumbleweed is late and a big security hole has to be fixed fast.

Running the upgrade

Once you are done with the repo setup use zypper dup to upgrade.

Warning It's a good idea to run this command in a screen session to avoid zypper dup from getting killed in case e.g. X dies. To avoid this problem you can use Tmux, too.
zypper dup

Now go make some coffee and have a lot of fun when using our rolling release.

Meanwhile don't forget to subscribe to the mailinglist to stay up to date with the Factory development.

If the the upgrade fails: refresh zypper

Sometimes zypper fails to upgrade indicating it cannot find some files like this:

Retrieving: monitoring-tools-1.14.0-4.2.x86_64.rpm ......................................................................................................[error]
File './x86_64/monitoring-tools-1.14.0-4.2.x86_64.rpm' not found on medium 'http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/server:/monitoring/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/'

When you look at http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/server:/monitoring/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/x86_64/ you see a more recent version of monitoring-tools-*.x86_64.rpm

The above error usually means your local zypper configuration is out of sync with the repository. A zypper refresh solves that, so this combination correctly updates:

zypper refresh
zypper dist-upgrade