Upgrade from 22.02 to 23.05 and making my config DSA compatible

You may know (or think) that, but there's no (remotely reasonable) way for the sysupgrade process to validate that.
a) sysupgrade is executed on the old version, without any knowledge about the new version and what might be changing there, we just have the compat version as a marker to notify you (manually)
b) these configs are utterly device specific, in many cases also including MAC addresses, so being really unique per-device. it is (pretty much) impossible to programmatically determine if there are changes to the defaults or not, even less what kind of changes (again, this varies widely between models, even a 'simple' 100% defaults comparison, down to the whitespace, would need a huge device specific effort - and is plainly impossible, as you simply won't have access to all devices)
c) sysupgrade must be idempotent (otherwise you'd open a whole new can of worms involving (smei-)hard bricking devices) and work in a non-interactive fashion, it can't present any questions to the user - it either writes the images or denies that for one reason or another
d) swconfig <--> dsa is a major change, syntax and semantics vary widely, there is no way to translate one to the other in a generic way. while it may be possible to write some such translation layer, it's going to be difficult - and no one has done so, yet - and (unless you step up for that) it's unlikely to happen, most of the popular -contemporary- targets are already through with it
e) it's a once in a life time kind of migration, with a huge potential for failure and little reward, so spending time on this is time missing elsewhere
f) you've already spent more time in this discussion, than it would have taken you to get it working by hand
g) there's also the reverse to consider (downgrading), not covering that correctly could be really nasty

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For now I am going to give up and keep the current firmware. I just don't have the time right now to do this through trial and error with restoring bits of the config files from backup, or clicking through the Luci UI until everything workes again as expected. If I can spend some time off (but i am moving house in a few months to another continent so i don't think that will happen any time soon), i might want to try to figure out what changed and what didn't and write that up for others so people can have an idea how to upgrade while keeping most of their config, but that will probably take me at least a day or so, and if stuff breaks, i wont be able to look up how to fix it, so before I start i would also have to setup an alternative internet connection. Hopefully by the time I will look at this again, enough people will have struggled with this so at least better docs are available for all the people that don't care about VLANs and DSA beyond what is setup as defaults.

If I install the firmware stock, both with the old and the new version, openwrt works out of the box right? And there definitely are files that arent affected. So if the files that are, are reset to stock, and then the files that arent, are copied from the backup, and there is a list of ways how those 2 might interact, so you can restore those bits manually in the config files before restoring them, that would already be helpful. Now (unless I miss something vital) I have nothing to go on except: click through the Luci UI to restore everything manually

Absolutely not. I am not doing this very often, so just remembering all the things i setup and how will take me a lot longer then talkign online. And if i take down my router, I will also affect my wifes work, who currently isnt affected by any of this. If I do this, i need to plan when I do it, and make sure we have an alternative router/setup first. It will take me at least a full day. So far, i spent a few hours talking on a forum while waiting for other things to complete.

I understand your hesitation, and it is wise to do this upgrade when you have either some time to interrupt the network without causing work disruption and/or a spare router to put in place while you work on the main router.

That said, I think once you run the upgrade, you will see that it really isn’t complicated for most situations, and you’ll be able to be back up and running pretty quickly. FWIW, the average user who is not using VLANs can probably be back to fully functional in about 10 minutes.

The dsa transition started with 21.02 with a few target architectures, and has had new targets added with each subsequent release. So that is 3 years/releases of experience that is available now on the forum. The reason nobody has written a comprehensive guide on this (from a non-vlan user perspective) is that it is basically uneventful.

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How would an old sysupgrade predating dsa know that?

But aside from that, even if it would 'know', it's impossible for it to act upon that.
system and network need to change 100%.
firewall and dhcp will change as soon as you've added any additional VLANs, and they may even change just due to the different interface names.
wireless will change between 22.03 and 23.05 for unrelated reasons (netifd using different calling conventions on interface names)

…what's left?
…which of the files that are left, a) need to be modified and b) contain anything particularly complex?

and no, I'm not saying that the ones above are definitively -pinky promise- the only ones (I already come up with others that are likely to be affected), just the one that certainly will be different, whatever you do.

Getting a complex VLAN setup migrated may take you:

  • sysupgrading with -n/ resetting to defaults
  • a rainy Saturday afternoon to get it all done and understand the differences or at least get something working
  • generously speaking an hour or two to re-apply your old settings - and you can refer to a backup tarball for much of that (as long as you don't try to restore it or re-apply files unchecked).

That aside, configuration compatibility between major OpenWrt versions is not guaranteed, while it often works out in practice (because developers do care), there are changes between versions that demand attention, this is 'just' a harder break than usual (but by far not the only one). You do need to check and confirm configurations after any major version upgrade (and a little even between minor ones, just to confirm that indeed all necessary files are marked as conffile and have been pulled over).

So yes, I am quite confident that you've already spent more time on this thread, than you would have on doing the migrations properly.

Just to be clear, with

doing the migrations properly.

you mean, throw everything in the trash and start from scratch, right? Not much of a migration in my opinion.

Sorry, but i really dont understand what you mean with

that it is basically uneventful.

I really truly honestly think there is something i am missing here. You are all saying that I just have to throw away everything i did, and restart from scratch with a fresh install, and no way to restore/migrate anything. Just a plain old, start from square one where I was 2 years or so ago from memory/by looking at the backed up files and hoping I can translate that in my mind to what i need to do in the Luci UI.

So you are saying that setting up a router with openwrt is uneventful and trivial?

You are treating your config like it is the equivalent of building a city. I would compare it more to setting the table for a casual meal. There is some work to be done, but it only takes a little bit of effort and time.