Fedora 26 has finally arrived, with thousands of improvements to development tools, partitioning tools, better caching of user and group information, better debugging, an improved DNF package manager, and so much more.

Many Fedora users will go straight for the clean install–which makes perfect sense and always winds up with a reliable and stable instance. I tend to like to (with the help of a virtual machine) run an upgrade to see how well a job the development team has done with the process. And so, I set out to upgrade a Fedora 25 VM to Fedora 26 and report how it was done and how the upgrade fared.

With that said, let’s get to the upgrade. I am going to walk you through the process of upgrading from within the command line. Yes, it is possible to easily upgrade from the GUI tools, but I wanted to go the less obvious route (especially since most can figure out how to run the upgrade from the GUI).

The upgrade process

Open up a terminal window. With that at the ready, issue the command:

sudo dnf upgrade --refresh

The above command will pull down any updates necessary to run before the actual distribution upgrade occurs (Figure A).

Figure A

Once the current release is up to date, you then need to install a DNF plugin that will run the distribution upgrade. The command to do this is:

sudo dnf install dnf-plugin-system-upgrade

Next, we issue the command to run the distribution upgrade like so:

sudo dnf system-upgrade download --releasever=26

The above command will pull down everything necessary for the upgrade, but not actually run the upgrade process.

You must okay this download before every package necessary for the upgrade will be downloaded. This will take can take some time (but not nearly as long as the actual upgrade); so either sit back and enjoy the progress or go take care of some other task. Do note that, at one point during the upgrade, you will have to OK the import of the Fedora GPG key (Figure B).

Figure B

Okay that import and the upgrade will continue.

Finally, reboot your system (to complete the process) with the command:

sudo dnf system-upgrade reboot

During the reboot, all packages will be upgraded, so this process will take some time (considerable time, in fact). One the upgrades complete, cleanup will begin. When the cleanup is finished, Fedora will reboot and land you on your shiny new instance of the latest release.

How did the upgrade fare?

After the reboot, I was presented with Fedora 26 and its lovely new desktop background (Figure C).

Figure C

The first thing that hit me was how much smoother and faster Fedora ran. In fact, the difference between 25 and 26 was significant (Considering how polished the previous release was, that’s saying something.) In fact, this might have been the smoothest major upgrade of any operating system I have ever experienced, bar none. What does that mean? At least from my perspective, I would say upgrading Fedora 25 to 26 might be the first time I’ve ever said the process could end with as stable a desktop as would a clean install. Would I do this on a production machine? That would depend upon what purpose the installation served. If this was a mission-critical server, probably not. It it were an end-user desktop? Why not?

In the end, Fedora 26 is a slick, stable, and gorgeous desktop operating system. If you don’t already have 25 installed, and want to go straight to 26, download it and install it now. You won’t regret it.