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Re: pup: boon or curse? quicker updates or slower updates?

On Fri, 2007-03-09 at 18:06 +0530, Debarshi 'Rishi' Ray wrote:
> First of all someone who is using the command line interface and not
> the GUI, even when the GUI is available, is not a complete newbie. If
> he has the acumen to remember the 'cd', 'clear', 'ls', 'sudo yum',
> etc. dance then why can not he/she remember the 'apt-get update' and
> 'apt-get upgrade' dance?

I suppose this is a fair enough assumption. But, unlike 'cd', 'ls', etc
which perform _immediately-required_ actions, 'apt-get update' (from a
semi-newbie point of view) does nothing tangible. (Think: "It's updating
the repository information? What's that? Why is this needed? Why can't I
just install the program?") So unlike the basic commandline commands,
the "apt-get update" command gives no immediately obvious results to
someone coming from, say, That Other OS. Explaining to them what
"apt-get update" does is usually pointless, as they do not always
understand and definitely don't care. They _just want it to work_.

Oh, and you'd be surprised at how many "newbies" use/want to use the
command line (see comments about the yum gui below)...

> Even if it is still a problem, then consider that we have yum-updatesd
> downloading update information automatically in the background, and
> Yum itself engineered in such a way that it will download update
> information after 'metadata_expires' is reached. No matter how high
> the value of 'metadata_expires' is, this is simply not needed. If I am
> a newbie, and can not handle the 'apt-get update' and 'apt-get
> upgrade' dance, I will simply ask yum-updatesd to do the job for me.
> Provided, ofcourse, I have the bandwidth to do it efficiently.
> Otherwise, if I know my way around or have bandwidth issues, then I
> shall simply switch of yum-updatesd and resort to the apt-get update'
> and 'apt-get upgrade' dance.

Fair enough, but if you know what you're doing, then why not simply use
something like "yum -C update"? This does the same as "apt-get upgrade",
i.e. it runs from the local metadata cache.

> Secondly, since most newbies are prone to use GUI tools, if Pirut has
> a nice icon (like Synaptic) that prominently announces: "look for
> updates", then I do not think people have to remember any dance
> sequence at all. As far as I have seen, Ubuntu users (mostly newbies
> not knowing what 'ls' and 'clear' are) are so happy with their
> distribution simply because Synaptic precisely does this. I have not
> seen a single Pirut user who is even marginally content. If such a
> feature was removed to help any newbie, then it has surely failed to
> do so.
> Before finishing let me give my own example. The only repositories
> that I use are Fedora's Core, Updates and Extras; and ATRPMs. All
> these are mirrored locally on my LAN, and I do not use the upstream
> repositories ever, except for keeping the local ones updated. I do not
> run yum-updatesd too. On such a set-up when I start Pirut, it takes 15
> seconds to show the initial window, which is the 'browse' (leftmost)
> tab. Funnily it has no package or category listed. When I click the
> 'list' (rightmost) tab it takes a further 60 seconds to show the
> package list. Everytime I change tabs and come back to 'list' it takes
> the same amount of time as before. Since I do not use a US English
> desktop the tabs might not be named exactly 'browse' and 'list', but
> that is what they look like from the local language traslation.

I agree, Pirut's "lag time" is a pain, and as a whole the GUI isn't as
streamlined as Ubuntu's GUI update manager (synaptic with a "friendlier"
starting point). It's "list-page slowness" has some more problems than
just a "yum update"-induced issue, however; imho this needs
_desperately_ needs to be looked at. Some of our newbie users actually
prefer the yum-cli because of this.

I submitted a "concept" patch a while back that allows "off-line" and
"non-root" usage of Pirut (amongst some other things) - this same
technique could be used to lessen the metadata-update requirements of
the GUI, at least.

Interestingly enough, we are running a very similar setup. I, however,
use a managed mix of core, updates, extras, livna, rpmforge, kde-redhat,
freshrpms and dribble, and all our local machines update from a
centralized cache. As you can guess, this cache serves a fairly large
amount of machines. Explaining basic repository management (read:
apt-get update; apt-get upgrade or apt-get update, apt-get install X) to
_all_ of the people becomes a bit of a drag when a single "yum update"
or "yum install" command is enough. This is the same with Synaptic; the
package metadata gets old eventually (however it does prompt the user
when this happens, which is nice).

> I am basically an end-use when it comes to Yum and/or Pirut, but I
> know Python and do some programming and would like to help out
> regarding this if required.

Me too. Is there some (clear) way that the community can get more
involved in Pirut/yum's development (outside of only writing yum

To summarise:
I agree with almost everything you are saying (especially the
GUI-related stuff), I just feel that yum's _default_ behaviour should
not necessarily be similar to apt's. :-)


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