In case you missed it, the latest edition of Ubuntu was released this week, Natty Narwhal (or 11.04 if you prefer).
It seems to have been one of the most popular releases ever, because I can't connect to the Ubuntu website to upgrade!!! What's happening is that because Canonical's servers are so busy, the upgrade assistant can't download the release notes for the new version. And so the upgrade fails.
Because Canonical make their ISO files available as torrents, you can download the latest version of Ubuntu without relying on their creaking servers! Good old Bittorrent!
A word of caution: download the alternate version of the ISO, not the standard desktop edition. That's the file named ubuntu-11.04-alternate-i386.iso.torrent for people like me on an Intel architecture.
Upgrade Ubuntu directly from ISO
Why bother burning a CD-ROM when you can upgrade Ubuntu directly from the ISO image?
sudo mkdir -p /media/cdrom
sudo mount -o loop ~/Desktop/ubuntu-11.04-alternate-i386.iso /media/cdrom
And from there, you simply run the following command to get the upgrade process running:
gksu "sh /media/cdrom/cdromupgrade"
Another word of caution: the installer will prompt you to download newer versions of files from the Internet. Well, if you want to do this upgrade quickly, you don't want to add the lag time from downloading all those files. Say no, and deal with updating later.
That's your lot - a quick and easy way to upgrade your Ubuntu to Natty Narwhal without relying on Canonical servers. Judging by how hard they've been hit this time round, I'm guessing I'm not the only one busting to try out the new Unity interface - hopefully this'll be a sexy new feature that'll attract some curious new users to try Linux!