Uprading Awesome edition

Since Manjaro is a rolling release, but the AwesomeWM community edition has not seen its v19 release yet, what would be missing if the current v18.1.3 ISO is installed and updated with pacman -Syu ?

Other than any UI updates, would the result be similar to any other Manjaro v19 installation?

You are going to hit a number of challenges trying to update an installation being that old.

You are going to need to look through the update threads for solutions to each challenge as it arises.

Would that mean that normally Manjaro installations would need a reinstall when new major releases come out?

You can also install using the Manjaro Architect. Since this is a netinstaller, it will pull the packages from the repo, so you will get the current available packages from the repo.

Even though @Wollie is corect about checking the update threads you can try installing the 18.1.3 iso and updating right afterwards. If it breaks, you are not really losing much (as it is a fresh install ). The awesome edition iso uses mainly xfce packages, which normally are very stable.

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No, Manjaro is a rolling distro: if you update it regularly, you should never have to reinstall it. "Regularly" typically means at least once once a month (though I've gone about three months without updating it and nothing broke when I finally did it, but that was pushing it a bit). If you neglect updating it for a long time, there is a chance an update will break something and fixing it might just be so complicated that it's easier to reinstall it.

The problem with using an old image is that images do not receive updates (being fixed in time). An image installs Manjaro in the same state as it would be at the time that image was released: in other words, as if it has not been updated ever since then. So if the image is a year old, and you install it now, that's the same as installing it a year ago and not updating Manjaro since. That usually means trouble.

But as @firefightux pointed out, you have nothing to lose with a fresh install (apart from some time) if you try to update it, as you can always reinstall.

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Nothing would be missing.

As this ISO contains pacman 5.2.1-1 - there would be no problems updating it either.

Do the first update from a TTY - just to ensure your X does break during update.

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