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Old 10-05-2014, 06:29 PM   #1
pusrob
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Unhappy Debian Testing (Jessie) update fail story and thoughts


Hi everyone!

This thread is just a story (rant) about how my update in Debian testing (currently jessie) failed (again). I'll add some of my thoughts also, so that if some debian package maintainer happens to read this, he'll know kind of problems they create unnecessarily.

So here goes the story:
Yesterday I finally collected the necessary willpower to start a system update. This doesn't happen quite often, for very good reasons. And these reasons got backed up again. First and foremost I made a clone of my system partition to an external HDD with the great PartedMagic CD (unfortunately not free for some time now, but old ISO-s still work ). This a precaution I take every time so that I can revert to an old state in a matter of minutes if something goes wrong with the update. An this saved me again.

After creating the backup, I updated the kernel and video drivers, and few other always-safe-to-update packages, like libreoffice, calibre and stuff. Made a backup again, so that I won't need to that again.

Finally, I updated KDE to the latest and greatest 4.14.1 from 4.11.3. It pulled in some other packages also, and then when I was ready, everything seemed to be fine. Also, although I did not really want it, but since I was doing a "major update" and debian decision makers left me little choice, systemd finally replaced sysinitv on my PC. Everything was looking good after the reboot, but didn't test anything, turned off the PC as it was already night.

Next day I came the bad part. In the morning I decided to upload a new book onto a memory card, and something happened: I couldn't mount the USB card reader. OK, I said, let's try my trusty old pendrive. No luck. Al righty, let's check the forums for a solution. Cannot turn the wireless radio on. What the...? Network manager just won't turn the wireless radio on (I disable the radio to save battery power when no inet is needed). OK, let's edit the networkmanager conf file manually, restart the NM, and voila, connection. Then to make the search for the solution a bit nicer, I just wanted to put some music in, but hell, no luck again. No sound. I have 2 sound cards in the PC (internal and SB), but neither of them made the slightest sound. Checked alsamixer, but everything was fine.

And this was the point I got fed up. A simple matter as a system update made my PC unusable for my everyday tasks. No sound, no removable media mount, and no wireless radio switching. Tasks I do regularly. Thanks a lot.

So, what was the problem? Well, it seems that I lost permissions to mount removable devices after the update. Yes. That is what happend, because after installing polkit-kde package (which wasn't a compulsory dependency for some very strange reason ) a window came in asking a root password when trying to mount a pendrive. So I tested the udisks command line tool to mount the pendrive with root and normal user account, and surprise, surprise it did work running as root, but not as a user.

I guess this new policykit ruleset is the thing that prevents me from turning on/off the wireless radio. This much I figured out.

Why the sound didn't work? Well I had no intention to find out, but my guess is still policykit.

Oh yeah: I could no longer set LCD brightness withing KDE. Just like that. New rulesets again maybe?

Well I don't understand why is it a good idea to restrict the user to access any hardware, but that is what happened.

And systemd. Well, I have no idea why an init system has to affect so many parts of my system, but doesn't matter now. It couldn't load my custom iptables script out of the box, so it pretty much decided for itself what I should do with it. Also I don't like the concept how quiet systemd becomes when the grub quiet option is used. With the old init system I get some important messages on the screen, but not all of them, which is good. I don't want to read what devices are found, what drivers are loaded, etc. every time the PC boots. A good compromise. But the systemd is just rediculous. With the quiet option it showed me 2 lines? Really? Lines that informed me that the filesystems on my partitions didn't need to be checked? Maaan. That is quiet all right, but too quiet. Turning off this option encouraged the system to show everything it got of course, so no good. Final deceison: The hell with systemd too.

One good thing came from all this though, I finally found out what was causing a hang in my shutdown process for a long time now, as systemd was quite informative here too (it was minidlna). I don't know why I had that package, but it's gone now. What really was surprising, is how fast systemd was at shutting down the PC. 2 seconds tops. Really fast. With a standard hdd. Amazing. Not that I need to complain with sysinit's 5 seconds or so, but that was an amazing sight. At system startup, I really don't feel any difference in speed. It's pretty much the same. I think the HDD is the bottleneck here not sysinit

Also a word about KDE update: the networkmanager applet became usable again. I'm writing this, because at KDE version after 4.11 it was pretty awful, as the older one (which I still use, as it works perfectly for me) was replaced by a half-baked something. So that was nice to see. Although I'm not really sure why did the NM applet change, change and change again in looks so many times through the years. It seems that nowdays in some opensource projects change for change's sake became quite popular unfortunately. I'm not saying that some underlying techs don't need to be replaced from time to time (e.g: rewrite applets in Qt quick if remember correctly, against which I have nothing wrong to say) but why the looks also? That makes no sence.


The conclusion is: I was quite annoyed with the results (mount, sound, LCD, wifi radio), so I reverted my system to the previous state again, as my last attempt to update my debian failed also, and unfortunately I'm gonna have to stick with the safe-to-update packages for another many months again. A shame. Debian is not what it used to be. In older times I only had to be so causious with the unstable brach not with the testing. Too bad.

Perhaps those of you who read all the way through will think: hey, why didn't you find the solutions to your problems? Well the answer is: I don't have time for the several days tinkering/googling/forum reading any more that would be required to solve this. Sorry, but those times are gone. I have more important things to do than constantly "soldering" my system. I just want to use it. Also, I'm not a fan of systemd and I really feel little motivation to find a solution that is caused by systemd and related stuff.

So why this long post if I have more important things to do? Because it eases me up. That simple.

Thanks for reading.

Last edited by pusrob; 10-05-2014 at 06:36 PM.
 
Old 10-05-2014, 07:05 PM   #2
k3lt01
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All of my testing, and Sid, installs get updated daily. In my experience the longer between updates the more chance you have of a problem after the update.

If you are reluctant to update then testing is not for you. Testing is testing for a reason and part of that reason is to "test" it as it is updated. If you don't "test" it by updating it you may as well stick with Stable.

How do you update? If stability of testing is your primary concern then you should try
Code:
apt-get update && apt-get safe-upgrade
that way no new packages are installed and no old packages are removed.
You should also
Code:
apt-get install apt-listbugs apt-listchanges apt-listdifferences
these packages warn you of changes that "may" affect your system.
 
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Old 10-05-2014, 11:55 PM   #3
Ratamahatta
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k3lt01 is right.
I'm on Aptosid (Debian Sid) because Testing was too much of a risk to me. Sid can be bad enough. (Had a problem after updating recently, so I know what I'm talking about. (After 3 months of not-updating, so it would at least partially be my fault.)) If you're on Testing, you're bound to have more problems. That's the downside of cutting edge technology: you may get cut. (Don't mean to do a rant on you.)
Not sure there are any Debian developers here. They would rather tell you to RTFM. And they would refuse to WTFM. That is, a manual that is more than just a list of command-line-optins. (That's why Linux has not taken over the desktop yet and *buntu is so prominent, by the way.)
 
Old 10-06-2014, 02:34 AM   #4
EDDY1
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All you had to do is add systemd-sysv which creates the necessary links to /sbin/init
https://wiki.debian.org/systemd
If you're not ready for systemd then you need to move back to wheezy, which i also making the switch & pin it, before the change.

Last edited by EDDY1; 10-06-2014 at 02:38 AM.
 
Old 10-06-2014, 03:39 AM   #5
pusrob
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Hi everyone!
Thanks for the replies.

EDDY1: As a matter of fact systemd-sysv was installed. And everything worked except my iptables script. Bad luck. I also read that although most init scripts should work with systemd, it is still not 100% safe from this perspective.

K3lt01: I exactly know that the longer time passes between updates, the more problems could happen. But this time it wasn't the long update time, and neither it was last time. This was something with the new packages and rules, to which the transition is not totally safe. I read several forums on the subject of the USB mounting case, and I never found a conclusive answer why it happened. The situation was simply resolved by making a fresh install, where the problem was magically gone. Well, I'm not about to do a fresh install, as I don't believe in the Ubuntu way of always making fresh installs at new versions. I believe in rolling releases.

Also, I've been using testing for at least 8 years now. I faced some problems down the road before (manually deleting packages to resolve dependencies and what not), and most probably I could find a solution for these too, but I don't really want to any more. Especially with systemd. I really hope there will be something useful soon at the uselessd project. To that I would change gladly.

Ratamahatta: Testing was too much of a risk? Sid is far worse. I used that too many many years ago, so I know. Also, testing is not cutting edge. Sid is. That is exactly why I stopped using that those years ago. Testing seems/seemed to be a good compromise between stability and "newness". I admit, that when the update doesn't skrew the system up on testing, it is pretty good. Otherwise, pain in the a**. Have been down this road several times.

Well, the good news is, that I'm not yet discouraged from using testing, it is just I'm gonna wait another few months before I try an update again. Hopefully it will be better at that time. Or not. Or I'll stick with the "safe-updates" for a while longer...

Last edited by pusrob; 10-06-2014 at 03:40 AM.
 
Old 10-06-2014, 05:14 AM   #6
k3lt01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
K3lt01: I exactly know that the longer time passes between updates, the more problems could happen. But this time it wasn't the long update time, and neither it was last time.
When you post
Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
Yesterday I finally collected the necessary willpower to start a system update. This doesn't happen quite often, for very good reasons.
The indication is, in English at least, that you do not update often at all.

Then you say
Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
The conclusion is: I was quite annoyed with the results (mount, sound, LCD, wifi radio), so I reverted my system to the previous state again, as my last attempt to update my debian failed also, and unfortunately I'm gonna have to stick with the safe-to-update packages for another many months again.
Which also indicates you are leaving your update not for days, or weeks, but for months. Maybe it is a language problem, I am guessing English isn't your mother tongue but you are suggesting it is months between updates and this is the real problem.

Lastly you say
Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
I don't have time for the several days tinkering/googling/forum reading any more that would be required to solve this. Sorry, but those times are gone. I have more important things to do than constantly "soldering" my system. I just want to use it.
This leads to the obvious conclusion that testing is definitely not the type of system you need. Instead of testing which needs to be updated regularly to avoid the big problems you are facing you need to consider using Stable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
Well, the good news is, that I'm not yet discouraged from using testing, it is just I'm gonna wait another few months before I try an update again. Hopefully it will be better at that time. Or not. Or I'll stick with the "safe-updates" for a while longer...
Now you come back and say "I'm just gonna wait another few months before I try and update again". It is your choice to do this but it is wrong to blame Debian for breakages when you aren't maintaining your system.

Last edited by k3lt01; 10-06-2014 at 05:19 AM.
 
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:40 AM   #7
Randicus Draco Albus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
Perhaps those of you who read all the way through will think: hey, why didn't you find the solutions to your problems? Well the answer is: I don't have time for the several days tinkering/googling/forum reading any more that would be required to solve this. Sorry, but those times are gone. I have more important things to do than constantly "soldering" my system. I just want to use it.
Then why do you use a testing system? A testing system requires effort and time from the user that a stable system does not.

Quote:
I believe in rolling releases.
Yet another, "I want a rolling release with constantly changing software, but I also want a stable system that I do not need to babysit." Can you see the conflicting desires?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratamahatta
That is, a manual that is more than just a list of command-line-optins. (That's why Linux has not taken over the desktop yet and *buntu is so prominent, by the way.)

Yes. Remove the terminal (and infuse tens of millions of dollars into development and promotion)* and Linux will take over command of the desktop "market."

*The part in parentheses is important by the way.
 
Old 10-06-2014, 07:09 AM   #8
pusrob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k3lt01 View Post
The indication is, in English at least, that you do not update often at all.
Then you say
Which also indicates you are leaving your update not for days, or weeks, but for months. Maybe it is a language problem, I am guessing English isn't your mother tongue but you are suggesting it is months between updates and this is the real problem.
Well, it is not my english. You understood as intended. I don't update weekly. For good reasons.
Quote:
Originally Posted by k3lt01 View Post
Lastly you say
This leads to the obvious conclusion that testing is definitely not the type of system you need. Instead of testing which needs to be updated regularly to avoid the big problems you are facing you need to consider using Stable.
Updating regularly would've caused the same problems, as most of them came from the changes of KDE and the replacement of sysinit. You see, the problems didin't come from big version changes, but changes themselves. Some pretty fundamental changes in how the system works. What I'm saying is, that the transition between the old and new system isn't smooth. No matter how big the difference between version numbers (and here I stress it wasn't that big by the way)
Quote:
Originally Posted by k3lt01 View Post
Now you come back and say "I'm just gonna wait another few months before I try and update again". It is your choice to do this but it is wrong to blame Debian for breakages when you aren't maintaining your system.
Again. When they change how the system works at a fundamental level, it doesn't matter how often you update your system. It will break anyway. And you'll need to find a fix to it anyway.

Also I'm doing this update-only-every-few-months thing for quite some time now, and hasn't been a big issue so far, unless they changed something big. Like the new PIM suite in KDE. Again, textbook case. Now matter how long you waited or how regularly you made the updates, it would've break your previous settings. Because the very fundamental way they changed the PIM suite worked. And because the transition between them was not 100% good. And this is exactly what happened here too. That's it. It has nothing to do how often I update the system.

For the irregular system update a much more common problem is when you can't resolve dependencies, because the packages required for migration no longer exist in the repo (or you could say: the window for migration has been closed). In these cases one needs to do manual work. I faced this problem before, and I had no complaints. I knew it was completely my fault.
 
Old 10-06-2014, 07:19 AM   #9
pusrob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randicus Draco Albus View Post
Then why do you use a testing system? A testing system requires effort and time from the user that a stable system does not.

Yet another, "I want a rolling release with constantly changing software, but I also want a stable system that I do not need to babysit." Can you see the conflicting desires?
No I don't see. Why? Because debian stable is also a rolling release, as many other distros too. And you don't need to babysit them.
 
Old 10-06-2014, 07:41 AM   #10
Randicus Draco Albus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
Because debian stable is also a rolling release
Oh dear.
 
Old 10-06-2014, 03:28 PM   #11
pusrob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randicus Draco Albus View Post
Oh dear.
I'm not sure what you are referring to. According to wikipedia a rolling release is:
Quote:
a rolling release or rolling update development model refers to a continually developing software system
Which debian stable is. As you already know you can set "stable" instead of "wheezy" or "squeeze" in sources.list, which means the packages found in "stable" are always the current stable version of debian, regardless of the release's name.

Also this means that you don't need to reinstall debian stable after a "new version" of stable is released, because the packages in "stable" are updated accordingly. The only difference will be when a new "version" of debian is released, is that some debian specific package (I don't remember which) will update the system's name to the new name of the new stable branch. Everything else remains the same. This hell qualifies to be a rolling release.

Also, according to wikipedia:
Quote:
Rolling software, instead, is continually updated, in contrast to standard release software which is upgraded between versions.
And if we read what wikipedia says for upgrade:
Quote:
an upgrade is generally a replacement of hardware, software or firmware
And as you never upgrade anything (aka don't replace the old version as with ubuntu for example) with debian stable, it qualifies to be an update. Which is by definition a characteristic of a rolling release.

And as the update process between debian stable versions is so smooth (did this too), you don't even notice that you're using a new "version" of debian stable, unless you notice the change in name during boot or you read it in the news.

So I'm not sure what were you referring to with the " Oh dear" comment of yours. Perhaps that I expect a rolling release distribution not to break my system after an update, despite the fact that it has "testing" in it's name? Well, sort of. I never expected it to be perfect (if I wanted that, I would use stable), that is why it is testing, but also never expected it to break so many things with just one update. Why? Probably because that is why debian has the unstable/experimental section. To find such major breakdowns first, and leave smaller ones to the testing users to find. Minor breakages and problems are expected in testing, I never argued about that, and never complained about that.

So again: would you please explain what you meant with the ?
Thanks.

Last edited by pusrob; 10-06-2014 at 03:29 PM.
 
Old 10-06-2014, 06:40 PM   #12
k3lt01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
Well, it is not my english. You understood as intended. I don't update weekly. For good reasons.
No not for good reason, there is a fundamental problem with your updating regime. I have Jessie and Sid installs (1 each of KDE minimal and KDE full in Stable Testing an Sid) and update daily and have not had any issues what_so_ever. Your issues most probably stem from the fact you don't maintain your system. If you want to continue the way you do then use something like LMDE.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
Updating regularly would've caused the same problems, as most of them came from the changes of KDE and the replacement of sysinit.
If this is the case, which it isn't, why didn't I have any problems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
You see, the problems didin't come from big version changes, but changes themselves. Some pretty fundamental changes in how the system works. What I'm saying is, that the transition between the old and new system isn't smooth. No matter how big the difference between version numbers (and here I stress it wasn't that big by the way)
This is most certainly wrong in my experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
Again. When they change how the system works at a fundamental level, it doesn't matter how often you update your system. It will break anyway. And you'll need to find a fix to it anyway.
That is why it is called TESTING.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
Also I'm doing this update-only-every-few-months thing for quite some time now, and hasn't been a big issue so far, unless they changed something big. Like the new PIM suite in KDE. Again, textbook case. Now matter how long you waited or how regularly you made the updates, it would've break your previous settings. Because the very fundamental way they changed the PIM suite worked. And because the transition between them was not 100% good. And this is exactly what happened here too. That's it. It has nothing to do how often I update the system.
Again my experience is completely different to yours. The major difference is I update daily, and have no major issue, you update every few months and have major problems. Do you see the link?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
For the irregular system update a much more common problem is when you can't resolve dependencies, because the packages required for migration no longer exist in the repo (or you could say: the window for migration has been closed). In these cases one needs to do manual work. I faced this problem before, and I had no complaints. I knew it was completely my fault.
This is why you read the information the packages I suggested you install give you. It is also why apt-get safe-upgrade is a good thing to use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
No I don't see. Why? Because debian stable is also a rolling release, as many other distros too. And you don't need to babysit them.
Say what? Debian Stable is NOT a rolling release. A rolling release gets new features as they become available. Debian Stable never had Gnome 2.32, 3.0, 3.2 so it is hardly a rolling release.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
I'm not sure what you are referring to. According to wikipedia a rolling release is:
Quote:
a rolling release or rolling update development model refers to a continually developing software system
Which debian stable is. As you already know you can set "stable" instead of "wheezy" or "squeeze" in sources.list, which means the packages found in "stable" are always the current stable version of debian, regardless of the release's name.
Ok so if I change my sources.list to point to stable I will have the current version of Gnome that is available in Sid will I? Stable is a frozen release not a rolling release.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
And as the update process between debian stable versions is so smooth (did this too), you don't even notice that you're using a new "version" of debian stable, unless you notice the change in name during boot or you read it in the news.
So people didn't notice the change from Gnome 2.30 to Gnome 3.4 when Wheezy superseded Squeeze as Stable? Did they notice the change from KDE 3.5 to KDE 4?

It appears to me you will continue to blame Debian for your methods and choices. You will continue to justify your methods and choices within your own mind so you can escape reality and its forgone conclusion that the majority of the problems you have experience are because of the way you do things.
 
Old 10-06-2014, 06:52 PM   #13
jlinkels
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pusrob, thank you for sharing your experiences on updating Testing. It might be useful for other people who think that Testing is quite stable and they can update Testing at any moment.

The truth is, Testing is pretty stable, but you can not update at any moment.

If you use testing as a rolling release you should update every few days and solve the smaller problems as they appear. In the long run you might spend a total amount of time equal to what you had to spend to get your system right. But the disaster aren't that big and the usually come one at a time.

Updating from T-3 months and expecting to have a full functioning Testing release is unrealistic. Tesing is stable, but the update process is not.

If you want to have a stable system, stick with Stable. I do that for my production machines. When I feel like it, I install testing. With the advantage of updated programs, with the disadvantage of smaller nuisances while tracking the release.

Whining over a failing upgrade is useless. You knew that you when you chose Testing instead of Stable.

Having said this all, some people prefer Sid for stability as updates enter Sid much faster than that they propagate to Testing. As a matter of fact, Testing can be quite hard to use because the purpose of Testing is to get a flawless release version. Not to be as stable as Stable.

jlinkels
 
Old 10-06-2014, 07:06 PM   #14
Randicus Draco Albus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pusrob View Post
So again: would you please explain what you meant with the ?
Thanks.
I was amazed that you have no idea what a rolling release is and believe Debian Stable is a rolling release. Shortly after Testing is frozen, it becomes the next Debian release (known in Debianland as Stable). It remains frozen. It never receives upgrades. It only receives security updates. I know this will seem harsh, but if you do not know even the most basic facts about Debian, you should not be using a development branch. Use Stable, until you gain enough knowledge to venture into the realm of excitement.
 
Old 10-07-2014, 05:57 PM   #15
Ratamahatta
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pushrob: Got something mixed up in my mind. Was late (or early) here when I posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randicus Draco Albus View Post
Yes. Remove the terminal (and infuse tens of millions of dollars into development and promotion)* and Linux will take over command of the desktop "market."

*The part in parentheses is important by the way.
That's not what I said or meant. I am sort of a minimalist, so I use openbox and type in a transparent urxvt a lot.
But: A proper manual tells you how to do stuff and doesn't just list the available options. A lot of manpages are just like that and still some people just reply RTFM when anyone asks how to do something concrete.
That combination (poor manpages and RTFM) is precisely how to put people off that are open-minded and giving Linux a try. (I mean, even OSX is more widespread than Linux these days on the desktop. That was very different a decade ago. And even then Linux was free.)

Last edited by Ratamahatta; 10-07-2014 at 06:00 PM. Reason: correction
 
  


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