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Author Topic: on OS updates and breakage  (Read 3036 times)
urlwolf
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« on: February 06, 2010, 06:42:24 PM »

When using windows, I never think twice about accepting updates.
Worst case, I have to reboot.

But on linux, I don't know anyone that doesn't pause before accepting suggested updates.
Linuxes break things with updates. Mind you not only kernel updates... minor, unrelated things.

I just lost ssh. Was it an update? Who knows... but, is Linux really a superior, more reliable tech? I cannot say this with a straight face. It's extremely fragile...

Thoughts?
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Josh
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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2010, 06:50:39 PM »

That is one of the major flaws holding linux back in the desktop market. Yes, it comes with just about every command line tool built in along with different modules and dependencies, but with those dependencies comes risks. Some apps require a certain version and upgrading an existing library can cause that app to break. This is one of the many heartbreaks I face with securing our linux based servers I work on.
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Strength in Knowledge
Deozaan
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« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2010, 06:53:14 PM »

I updated Ubuntu recently and it broke the bootloader or something. When I try to boot into it it says I need to load the kernel first. I thought I was trying to load the kernel by telling my machine to boot into Ubuntu?

So I erased it all and did a fresh install and then downloaded updates again and it still won't let me boot into the latest Ubuntu kernel. Not even for recovery mode.

I'm not very experienced with linux, but my little experience with Ubuntu leads me to agree with you.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2010, 08:05:40 PM »

I've used windows for 10-15 years and I can't remember having any problem with an update breaking anything.
I've been using ubuntu for about a year now and I've had two or three minor problems with updates (the most recent I recall was with the sound getting messed up). However, those got fixed with the next update (which didn't take more than a few days). I also had a few problems with software incompatibilities (specially with compiz+multiple monitors), and those didn't get fixed up to today, afaik.

On the other hand, I've found ubuntu's forums to be very responsive, and I've seen genuine interest in getting bugs fixed from the bugtracker. Unfortunately, IMO there's a lack of manpower and will to fix the annoying bugs, even if they look as simple fixes.

In conclusion, I think with Windows you get other kind of guarantees. Although linux will get you the cutting-edge, up-to-date technology with constant support in some stuff, it'll only be on the stuff that the developers find interesting to fix, since most don't think from a user point of view.

@Deozaan: yep, the most recent version of Ubuntu moved to a new bootloader (or was it just an update of grub? can't remember) and it also broke my instalation, I had to reinstall. AFAIK, that problem was fixed with an update launched the following day, though.
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housetier
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2010, 05:39:32 AM »

Last time I lost something it was my own fault.
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urlwolf
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2010, 06:03:06 AM »

I've broken the system many times being my own fault (btw this is a lot harder to do on a windows box too). This time, I doubt it. There where two users and none of us was touching the system when this happened. We were about to launch a large simulation. Noone sudo'ed anything.
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gjehle
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2010, 07:40:23 AM »

huh? pondering? i think the only reason you do not ponder is the fact that windows doesn't even give you a frickin' choice in the default setting.
"there's updates to be installed, you have to reboot". pardon me, what kind of updates? ohh, i see, keep protecting the stupid user from too much info :/

i've been running linux for way over 10 years now as my main operating system and i openly admit that it's not meant for everybody.
but i'm also pretty much blindly accepting any updates i get (i do glance over the list just to see what's affected).
in 99% of cases i didn't have the slightest problems, and mind you, i think it's safe to argue that on your average linux distro there's a lot more updates than what microsoft puts out.
the 1% is the odd kernel update that might cause a little hickup if you're running fancy hardware.
anyway, i haven't managed to break a linux system beyond usability or anything i wasn't able to fix myself right away in ages.
hell, i was even running a un-updatable gentoo system stuck in dependency hell for a year (neglecting updates on gentoo for more than half a year is no good idea) without problems.
since then i've switched to ubuntu and am happier than ever.

then again, it's not for everyone and who am i to evangelize anyone on their personal preferences.
just ticks me off if someone overgeneralizes and trolls about it :/
SCNR
« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 07:42:24 AM by gjehle » Logged
f0dder
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2010, 08:32:58 AM »

huh? pondering? i think the only reason you do not ponder is the fact that windows doesn't even give you a frickin' choice in the default setting.
"there's updates to be installed, you have to reboot". pardon me, what kind of updates? ohh, i see, keep protecting the stupid user from too much info :/
This is a perfectly fine default Windows Update setting, considering the majority of Windows users aren't techies. And the rest of us can set the update policy to "download and notify" or "notify only".

anyway, i haven't managed to break a linux system beyond usability or anything i wasn't able to fix myself right away in ages.
hell, i was even running a un-updatable gentoo system stuck in dependency hell for a year (neglecting updates on gentoo for more than half a year is no good idea) without problems.
You haven't managed to break a system beyond usability, but you got your gentoo stuck in un-updatable dependency hell?  huh huh huh
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- carpe noctem
gjehle
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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2010, 08:37:56 AM »

You haven't managed to break a system beyond usability, but you got your gentoo stuck in un-updatable dependency hell?  huh huh huh

I was still able to use it, just not update cheesy
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Edvard
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2010, 09:51:59 AM »

Deozaan, re-install.
Then, after you have applied updates but before rebooting, do this:
[copy or print]
sudo update-initramfs -u -k all
For some reason, the latest kernel packages don't trigger the creation of their own bootstrap.
And yes, JG, it had some roundabout thing to do with Grub2.
I too, found out the hard way.
 mad

On a lighter note, after I got that fixed, absolutely NOTHING else has broken in this release (first time for everything!) and I'm even running 64-bit!
 Thmbsup
« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 09:54:28 AM by Edvard » Logged

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tinjaw
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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2010, 09:55:00 AM »

I understand what you are saying, but it is kinda comparing apples and oranges. If you want a fairer comparison, compare Windows updates with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Not CentOS. The legit paid for subscription to Red Hat. They test patches and check for incompatibilities and the like. Then it would be a fair comparison. And if you make such a comparison, I am sure you would see that the updates don't break things any more than Windows updates.
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zridling
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« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2010, 11:10:05 AM »

When using windows, I never think twice about accepting updates. Worst case, I have to reboot.
But on linux, I don't know anyone that doesn't pause before accepting suggested updates.
Linuxes break things with updates. Mind you not only kernel updates... minor, unrelated things.
Thoughts?

Dude, you need a better distro, or you're doing something wrong. Packagers will warn you ahead of time if an update might break a dependency (for EACH specific app!). Besides, 99.5% of all updates are simple security updates. This is never a problem on openSUSE. Now, if by "Linux" you mean that you're updating your kernel without updating all the underlying software, then sure, you're asking for trouble. Perhaps you're updating individual apps?

A distro's software versions are tied to a specific kernel release, usually labeled the community release or factory stable release. Everything else is on your own. This is why it's a good idea to update your entire desktop environment (KDE, Gnome, Xfce) at one time rather than single packages.
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