Is upgrading equivalent to fresh install?

Is upgrading equivalent to fresh install function wise?
Not sure how to put this. Since I only modify the system configs minimally and keeps track of my customization, ideally I prefer to get an identical experience in an upgrade compared to fresh install.
However I’m worried that the upgrade may gimp the improvements by keeping the old config files or not installing new packages (GNOME 45 core app changes) etc. If so, is there some way to notify me of such during the upgrade so that I can manually take care of them?
Also does the answer also apply to beta (F39 beta)?

Seems not. List of things to check:

Upgraded. The interface is the same as what would appear using GNOME-Software upgrade, doesn’t show console output unlike dnf upgrade. Looking for a way to see the upgrade log.

dnf system-upgrade log --number=-1 (ref) shows the log, contains all the warnings as expected from dnf, though warnings are not colored for some reason.

Upgrade seems pretty smooth. No errors & warnings relevant to me, or understandable by me :laughing:. Turns out the log is just journald log.
journalctl -b -1 -g "warn"

In terms of GNOME 45 app changes, Loupe is automatically installed with EoG not uninstalled. Snapshot doesn’t seem to exist in Fedora package repo though.

Fresh install sets things up as included on the install media. Only the software versions on that media are installed and only basic configs.

An upgrade (for the most part) leaves all configs as they were at the time of the upgrade. User configs in the users home directory as well as in /etc (and some other locations) are not changed when an upgrade is done. This remains true whether it is an upgrade of the same release version of fedora or if it is an upgrade to a newer release version.

Sometimes when there is a major release number change and the app uses different configs this may result in unanticipated performance – sometimes better and sometimes worse. Mostly though, unless a major config change has occurred the user sees little difference.

Different threads on this forum have revealed such surprises at times.
If you see problems after an upgrade the test of whether it is a config issue seems to be creating a new user and see if the new user has the same results. If different it is usually in the users home directory config files for that app.

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It’s kinda a shame that upgrades will accumulate side-effects until a fresh install is preferable than maintaining the current install. I guess I will give immutable distro a try when I have the chance.

I have a Fedora 29 that was upgraded to 39 via 5 upgrades, because the VPS vendor doesn’t provide newer versions. I frequently run into problems that needs to be fixed as I go, like SELinux being disabled (not sure if this is F29 or vendor’s image), SSSD complaining about old DB, systemd-resolved randomly failing all DNSSEC until restarted (I don’t even… :person_facepalming:) etc. Since the vendor doesn’t provide newer versions, and factory reset is not a thing, I’m stuck with hunting down the remnants of the old system…

In case someone found this post for the mass DNSSEC fail problem:
Cloudflare seems to have rate limit on VPS provider’s range, don’t use both of Cloudflare’s resolvers at the same time. I used both and as DoT resolver, some sites that don’t have correct DNSSEC setup causes rcode=refused response, and systemd-resolved retries with the 2nd resolver, which is still Cloudflare, after many of these (especially on boot, e.g., Cloudflare starts to refuse all queries.
Though it is weird that Cloudflare returns refused for some sites that don’t seem to have DNSSEC, which triggers systemd-resolved to retry, when Unbound and Quad9 correctly says no RR resource or something.

If that vps provider does not provide newer versions I would find another vendor.

Any vendor that remains stuck with software that will only function with apps that are 5 years old seems out of touch with customers and does not deserve my business.

You did not tell us exactly what apps you are concerned about, but overall when a vendor forces one to hang that far behind it seems a red flag to me.

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dnf update --releasever=3x should give you a fresh install. Best done by dropping down to a tty. I’ve done this before, F30/F32/F35 for varying reasons. As long as you know you will lose everything and have a install “like new” this will work.

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Not true. Config files that are normally never changed by packages will remain as they were, similar to what happens with dnf system-upgrade ... type upgrades.

A new install starts with default configs. Updates of any kind leave configs as they were before the update.