This is a read-only archive. Find the latest Linux articles, documentation, and answers at the new Linux.com!

Linux.com

The dangers of automatic updates

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 161.12.7.4] on September 17, 2007 12:45 PM
I'm annoyed by this "if it aint broke don't fix it" technique you talk about.

For example, you decide you want application X now, since it can make your life easier. Application X requires W, Y and Z updated which then requires your whole system AND a kernel upgrade... You spend 3 hours updating your system and you decide Linux is a c**p system for getting new programs.
How about another example, where you don't upgrade the kernel and have some network stack vulnerability? The kernel's not 'broke' - but you've suddenly had some code injected into your system!?
Each application in the stable repositories should be fine for updating every day, as they have been through testing. Any regressions in a stable release should be dealt with soon with the next release!

Secondly, this infuriates me:
"Of course, you might say that users should know better than to be so careless. But the fact is that it's easy to make mistakes when you are distracted or careless"
Well, how about this:
"You might say people shouldn't kick babies. But the fact is it's easy to kick babies when you swing your foot and kick a baby!"
OF COURSE IT'S EASY TO BE STUPID IF YOU'RE STUPID!!

Person Y decides that they want to go from their STABLE system, and STABLE repositories - and start using DEVELOPMENT and TESTING repositories and then complain that their system all of a sudden doesn't work?
Are you the type of person who would give up using Windows XP/Vista and start using the windows 7/vienna that is still under development FULL TIME? Of course not! The same goes for AIX/macOS and what a surprise, Linux too!

Yes, Linux does have a reputation for continual 'beta', but they're continually GOOD and STABLE beta's.

Personally I don't pick auto updates because I like to have control over when and how my system updates - I manually tell yum (yes, a Fedora guy) to update and I am able to see what is upgrading and how it will effect my system.
Updaters do have ways to be improved - perhaps labelling them on what area they're updating (GUI/Sound/etc) - but I don't think Joe Bloggs needs to know the in's and out's of what's changed (although getting the info if required is vital).
Mr Joe Bloggs doesn't always need to know what specific buffer overflow and memory leak problems have been fixed, or what features have been added/changed (you can always revert to an earlier version).

"Never mind that this idea is an nuisance and an unwarranted assumption"
Then turn it off and leave it at that. Don't persuade others from updating their systems because YOU don't like it.

"contrary to responsible system maintenance."
_YOU_ may consider upgrading a system to be contrary to systems maintenence.. Then again, you may still be using VMS!

"They're an active hazard."
An active hazard? They're no more of a hazard then simply leaving the system as it is, and with the benefit that you're 99% more likely to BENEFIT from an upgrade, you're saying the reason to not upgrade is what?
"the reckless who have trashed their systems through unwary upgrades."
Trashed you say? They are called 'reckless' for a reason: that they didn't stick to stable repo's/packages.

I can go on, but I've written too much already!
== Paul_one ==

#

Return to The dangers of automatic updates