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Re: Automatic update

Paul Michael Reilly wrote:
One of the original reasons that I chose Redhat/Fedora was the ability
to learn easily that an update was available and/or necessary and get
that update installed.  I liked the panel applet notification but that
feature has been a rocky road, it used to work, didn't work and who
knows at any given time what it does now.  So I've pretty much given
up on the panel notification applet.  Red Hat update was equally rocky
with repo hell mimicking dll hell on Windows.  That has gotten better
over time (with Yum, haven't used Red Hat update in ages).  Now my
wife points out that Microsoft has a painless and practical update
facility that appears to be what I was looking for from Linux.  So my
question is: why has the Redhat/Fedora update facility fallen into
such disrepair?  And is there any reason to expect that it will become
competitive with Microsoft's with FC5 and follow ons?.  It would be
unfortunate to hear that the answer is Redhat Enterprise versions.  I
don't mind paying but I do mind running stale software.  I'll pay
gladly to live on the bleeding edge.  Even the lack of Firefox 1.5 with
FC4 is disturbing, enough to make me wonder what all the fuss over
Ubuntu is all about.

Franky, I don't trust anyone's automatic update.

I am perfectly happy to download the updates automatically, where this is feasible (ie, not dialup and not mobile), but _I_ choose when to apply those updates.

Microsoft's Windows Update has broken systems in the past, and is highly likely to do so in the future.

The Fedora project has released kernels for Fedora Core 3 to my certain knowledge that lead to broken systems, and I'm almost certain it did so for FC4. I know kernel updates are disabled by default - it's just an example, there are other packages such as glibc that also can completely break a system.

It's entirely natural that people make mistakes, many (hopefully minor) mistakes in any given day. Often, the difference between a small mistake and a great one is when it's detected.

The sensible defence against such mistakes includes countermeasures such as _not_ using automatic updates, waiting a while with the angels for the fools to rush in, and to review the updates before applying them so as to guage the possible damage.

Those are the minimum; larger enterprises and govenment departments are like to have test machines where they install these updates and test their regular workloads against them, and only then if they check out okay do they roll them out to the users. This applies whether it's Windows or Linux clients or servers, IBM's iSeries and pSeries Power machines running OS/400 (or whatever its called now) or AIX, or IBM z/VM, Z/OS or the latest incarnation of VSE or even Linux: mistakes are likely to cost millions, and they take it very seriously indeed.



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