Last week, Canonical released Ubuntu 21.04, which as usual results in a wave of upgrades from the previous version. However, Ubuntu users are now told not to upgrade manually and will not see the upgrade notification pop-up for a while.
As OMG Reports! Ubuntu, the unusual situation where developers tell users not to upgrade to the latest version of their operating system arose due to a serious bug.
Brian Murray, Ubuntu Bugmaster working at Canonical, wrote an email to the Ubuntu developers mailing list explaining, “In case you missed it in the release notes and hear people asking about this, I wanted to let you know that Ubuntu 20.10 users are not advised to upgrade to Ubuntu 21.04 … This is due to a bug with the current version of shim in Ubuntu 21.04, which may prevent systems with a first version of EFI from booting after upgrading. “
EFI refers to the extensible firmware interface between the operating system and the underlying firmware. It looks like on older hardware there is a serious issue that can cause an attempt to upgrade from Ubuntu 21.04 resulting in a system that will no longer boot. This has already been reported on the Ubuntu Bug Tracking Platform by user Balint Reczey who made a 2012 MacBook Air unbootable. To recover, Reczey had to revert to using an Ubuntu 20.04 live CD to overwrite certain files, which is a situation the developers are trying to avoid for many users.
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For now, if you are running Ubuntu 20.10, the best thing to do is to keep using it and wait for Canonical to clear it all up, or for the upgrade notification to appear. Unfortunately, no one knows how long it will take before the bug is fixed and upgrades are safe.
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