Time arriving to upgrade from Zorin 12.4, but have 32-bit

I switched to Zorin 12.4 a few years ago and have been delighted. It comes to my attention that this coming April, the underlying Ubuntu 16.04 will no longer be supported. I have 32-bit systems and did not like the Zorin Lite option after having taken a quick look at it. Unfortunately, 64-bit is not in the cards for me just yet.

Because I’m a creature of habit and really like my current Zorin 12.4 Gnome 3 interface, I’m wondering if I could conceivably and smoothly stay on Zorin 12.4, but do a distribution upgrade from Ubuntu 16.04 to Ubuntu 18.04 while staying in Zorin 12.4. I say that because I read in https://itsfoss.com/ubuntu-18-04-faq/#:~:text=Can%20I%20use%20Ubuntu%2018.04,in%2032-bit%20format%20anymore. that:

“If you are already using the 32-bit version of Ubuntu 16.04 or 17.10, you may still get to upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04. However, you won’t find Ubuntu 18.04 bit ISO in 32-bit format anymore. In other words, you cannot do a fresh install of the 32-bit version of Ubuntu 18.04 GNOME.”

Can I stick with Zorin 12.4 but simply do?:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt upgrade
$ sudo apt dist-upgrade

If I could pull that off, I would be happy with that rather simpleton option if it’s possible.

Pardon my confusion, but any guidance would be greatly appreciated with this crossroads arriving in April.

Joe-S, sadly, no. The commands you listed will not perform the task you are hoping for.
Those commands upgrade individual packages marked in APT for upgrading, not for upgrading an Operating System. What Dist-upgrade does is that it upgrades any package that is available for upgrade, that does not require the deletion of anything in order to perform. The command “apt full-upgrade” will allow for upgrading packages that do require deletion, but also does not upgrade the Operating System, only the packages installed on it.

The short of it is: It is not possible at this time to do what you are asking with Zorin OS.

Do I understand that my options are

  1. Get a 64-bit processor for my Dell computers & follow the instructions at https://zorinos.com/help/upgrade-zorin-os/ including the GParted deletion of the current OS.
  2. Follow Zorin instructions for a similar operation, but use Zorin Lite with my current 32-bit proecssors in my two computers.
  3. Find some alternative fancy foot-work, whatever that might be, where I could upgrade from Zorin 12.4/Ubuntu 16.04 to NON-Zorin Ubuntu 18.04 32-bit as mentioned in the itsfoss.com link in my original question with some similar GParted deletion-of-OS operation as in the above option 1.

Also, is option 3 even possible? … ie; Upgrading from Zorin 12.4/Ubuntu 16.04 to NON-Zorin Ubuntu 18.04 32-bit as mentioned in the above itsfoss.com link?
I don’t know if one can jump from Zorin 12.4/Ubuntu 16.04 to NON-Zorin Ubuntu 18.04 32-bit that easily, as one can easily upgrade from plain Ubuntu 16.04 to plain Ubuntu 18.04

All three are viable options.
Option 3.) Yes, it is possible to Direct-Upgrade Zorin OS 12.4 to Ubuntu 18.04 using the direct upgrade procedure. However, possible is not the same thing as ‘easy.’
The problems with it include just as you say: You would end up with Ubuntu 18.04, not with Zorin. The Zorin Themes you have would no longer work or no longer work properly. This is because those themes were made for gtk 3.18 (Ubuntu 16.04) and not for 3.20 and above. It was around this time that Gnome signed a pledge to Stop Breaking Themes. This may be a big deal as you described in your OP that the smooth Look and Feel of Zorin is a factor in your decisions.
All Zorin Repositories would be disabled by the upgrade.
It is to note that doing so would not work anywhere near as fast as an installation would. The process can take several hours.
Your personal files and data would remain on the computer as well as your settings and any installed software you have. However, some installed software may no longer work or no longer work properly, including Zorin apps like Zorin Appearance.
In full disclosure brutal honesty… It is possible for you to re-add the Zorin Repositories for Zorin 15 and try to update the themes and software.

I do need to point out- It is a risky procedure. If anything goes wrong during the hours the computer is installing via net-packets instead of a high speed media, your existing OS is at risk. You would need to be sure to make good back ups first. And if it fails, you will need to do a Re-installation. You would not want to try to trust salvaging it.

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All three are viable options.
Option 3.) Yes, it is possible to Direct-Upgrade Zorin OS 12.4 to Ubuntu 18.04 using the direct upgrade procedure. However, possible is not the same thing as ‘easy.’
.
.
In full disclosure brutal honesty… It is possible for you to re-add the Zorin Repositories for Zorin 15 and try to update the themes and software.

I do need to point out- It is a risky procedure. If anything goes wrong during the hours the computer is installing via net-packets instead of a high speed media, your existing OS is at risk. You would need to be sure to make good back ups first. And if it fails, you will need to do a Re-installation. You would not want to try to trust salvaging it.

Thank you, especially for your honesty. I looked into it and I would need to replace the whole motherboards of my existing computers to sink 64-bit processors in, so modernizing up to 64-bit is somewhere later on down the pike in my five-year-plans.

Everything seems to be high-drama these days (HEH), so I think I’m going to take the tricky high-drama option 3. Getting to Ubuntu 18.04 should be straightforward, but the part about re-adding Zorin Repositories for Zorin 15 and especially trying to update the themes and software, should be a bit tricky. I’m not encouraging anyone to try this at home. This isn’t for another half a year, but I needed an extra winter project on the drawing board to keep me healthily occupied.

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I could not agree more.

Just be, aware that major distributions are dropping 32-bit support from 2023 when Zorin 15 Lite support will also end. Only current alternatives are AntiX and MX Linux.

Just be, aware that major distributions are dropping 32-bit support from 2023 when Zorin 15 Lite support will also end. Only current alternatives are AntiX and MX Linux.

I am painfully aware that I cannot do this juggling act forever, but thanks for the reminder. I was reading [ https://ubuntu.com/blog/statement-on-32-bit-i386-packages-for-ubuntu-19-10-and-20-04-lts ] that Ubuntu is leaving some of that stuff in its repositories, some things working, other things not. There are surely other people like me who will be scrambling over the next few years to stay current. I guess it’s always that way staying current with technology, so it’s not like I’m going to cry over spilt milk when it’s time to buy new puters. It’s a needed conversation.

The commands you posted would be ineffective for what your plan is.
However, as I said in the Private Message I sent you that I can plainly see you have read; I will not publicly post a guide.
I certainly understand the concept of Openness and Honesty. However, personal responsibility cannot be thrust to the wayside.

It isn’t possible to upgrade Zorin OS 12.4 to Zorin OS 15 (or to an Ubuntu 18.04 base system) without breaking the system. As a result, the current best option for 32-bit computers would be to use Zorin OS 15 Lite, which has seen many updates and improvements over Zorin OS 12 Lite.

It may be of interest to take a look at my post about the future of 32-bit support in Zorin OS here: