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Old 01-19-2020, 11:24 AM   #1
thethinker
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Rolling Updates and restarts vs major upgrades


I'm sure this discussion has been had around LQ before, but I wasn't able to find anything specific.

I'm having some irritation around how my Xubuntu system handles updates. I use it on a machine which is up and running for 5-6 days at a time (I keep multiple desktops, dedicated browser tabs, etc, and it takes some time every Monday for me to get it set back up). When Xubuntu updates, it gives me a little gui message, updates, and then tells me the system needs to restart to complete updates. I always "restart later" and do it when it's convenient for me, but if the updates are not actually finished that must be a bad habit.

Contrast this with Slackware, which I run at home, and when I do updates (via slackpkg update etc etc), it never tells me it has to restart (except for new releases, I think. The BDFL ensures that's infrequent :-)).

So is there a distinction between OSs that "update like Xubuntu" and those that "update like Slackware", i.e. need to be restarted? Is it simply a feature of "Rolling Updates"?
 
Old 01-19-2020, 12:38 PM   #2
sevendogsbsd
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Neither Xubuntu nor Slackware is what is called a rolling release. They are both point releases, in that you run version 1, then upgrade to 1.2 and eventually to 2.0, etc. A rolling release such as Arch, Gentoo or avoid, you never have to upgrade because they are always running the latest packages. The caveat is they are not as “stable” as point releases but that may be debatable.

Slackware takes a very conservative approach to updates so probably doesn’t need to be rebooted as frequently as Xubuntu. Xubuntu also updates the kernel, or can anyway, during updates and Slackware typically does not unless you want it to.

Package updates should never affect the data in your user’s /home, unless the package configurations changes are significant and you need to configure from scratch. Think KDE 4 to Plasma migration.
 
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:36 PM   #3
thethinker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevendogsbsd View Post
Neither Xubuntu nor Slackware is what is called a rolling release. They are both point releases, in that you run version 1, then upgrade to 1.2 and eventually to 2.0, etc. A rolling release such as Arch, Gentoo or avoid, you never have to upgrade because they are always running the latest packages. The caveat is they are not as “stable” as point releases but that may be debatable.
Ok this is helpful, to give me an idea that I don't know what rolling release is, because I don't use and distros that do it. Thanks.


Quote:
Package updates should never affect the data in your user’s /home, unless the package configurations changes are significant and you need to configure from scratch. Think KDE 4 to Plasma migration.
Well, I kind of get that, but when the OS *wants* to restart, we should assume it knows what it's doing right? Which is why I find myself with this problem in Xubuntu - it's obviously not designed with ~5 day uptimes, or it would not ask me to restart every couple of days.
 
Old 01-19-2020, 09:18 PM   #4
sevendogsbsd
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That’s odd. Could have been a bunch of kernel updates or updates that require service restarts. Could be that the Xubuntu folks are trying to make updates easier by requiring a bounce with all updates.

I typically don’t allow the OS to do updates, or at least control them, and I do them on my schedule, which is normally every week. OS updates normally only write files or configs to the OS directories. I have never had Linux affect anything in my user’s /home before.
 
Old 01-19-2020, 09:20 PM   #5
syg00
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As a general rule I always disable automatic updates. I don't know xubuntu, but a quick search found several solutions - I don't know which are applicable or maybe out of date by now.
 
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Old 01-19-2020, 11:37 PM   #6
scasey
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Running CentOS. The update process itself doesn’t prompt me for reboots, but webmin tells me when there’s a kernel update, which does want a reboot. I do them at o’dark thirty on Sunday mornings...it’s a production server...

That happens not very often at all...maybe 5 times in the last year.
 
Old 01-19-2020, 11:40 PM   #7
thethinker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syg00 View Post
As a general rule I always disable automatic updates. I don't know Xubuntu, but a quick search found several solutions - I don't know which are applicable or maybe out of date by now.
Sure, I'm guessing there are ways you can modify how updates are done, but I usually try to follow distro "defaults" - I mean, who else knows best, right? (not that I follow that advice on Windows, but we should be endeavor to be over THAT bar....). If one distro thinks updates need to happen biweekly, and another doesn't, I'd like to use my market power (such as it is) to choose the one that fits my needs better.
 
Old 01-20-2020, 09:05 AM   #8
ehartman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethinker View Post
I usually try to follow distro "defaults" - I mean, who else knows best, right? (not that I follow that advice on Windows, but we should be endeavor to be over THAT bar....).
At the moment there are LOTS of kernel updates, because all of the security errors found in newer Intel (and AMD and ARM) cpu's, some distro's follow those more agressive then others. Often they are NOT needed on YOUR system.
But i.e. the 4.4 and 4.9 "stable" kernels already had 210 updates up till now and even the most recent one, 5.4 is at .13 at the moment (in less then 2 months, it was released on 25 november last year).
So especially on servers, that often aren't using those very new desktop cpu's (but more reliable XEON's), you do not need all those reboots, just update your kernel, i.e. once a month or when a very bad bug is fixed.
 
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Old 01-20-2020, 02:15 PM   #9
thethinker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ehartman View Post
At the moment there are LOTS of kernel updates, because all of the security errors found in newer Intel (and AMD and ARM) cpu's, some distro's follow those more agressive then others. Often they are NOT needed on YOUR system.
But i.e. the 4.4 and 4.9 "stable" kernels already had 210 updates up till now and even the most recent one, 5.4 is at .13 at the moment (in less then 2 months, it was released on 25 november last year).
So especially on servers, that often aren't using those very new desktop cpu's (but more reliable XEON's), you do not need all those reboots, just update your kernel, i.e. once a month or when a very bad bug is fixed.
So this sounds like very good information - it would be great if distros offered that kind of update customizations. And some of this seems very non-intuitive. For example, my custom update proceedure on my Pop_OS! system (my understanding of which is just re-skinned Ubuntu) goes

Code:
apt-get update
apt-get -y dist-upgrade
apt-get -y autoremove
apt-get -y autoclean

So one might think "dist-upgrade" is the part of this which asks for things that might require restarts (kernal packages I guess?). But when I read the man pages for apt-get, all I see are references to "packages" (anything found at /etc/apt/sources.list). So it doesn't appear possible to separate kernel upgrades from other package upgrades.

Or can they be separated somehow?

Last edited by thethinker; 01-20-2020 at 02:17 PM.
 
Old 01-20-2020, 02:37 PM   #10
sevendogsbsd
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Not in Linux unless you roll your own kernel from source. Some distros allow you to do this but when the source gets updated, you still have to update the kernel anyway. I thought Linux Mint separated out the kernel updates based on how "sensitive" they are? I don't like their update system personally, but it was at least an effort to let the user know "hey, you are about to update a very important part of the OS".

I can't speak to any other BSD except FreeBSD (which is not Linux), but there the OS is separated completely from the user software and uses a different set of tools to update the OS and the end user installed software. Makes for a very stable system for the most part, since software installs can't jack up the system. You can even delete
Code:
/usr/local
in its entirety and the OS will keep on trucking like nothing happened. Your software is gone, but it will still boot so maybe not much point to that...
 
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