Updates - How do you manage

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Updates - How do you manage

Postby Tsunum on Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:19 am

Hi,
I recently installed Linux Mint Xfce on my old Toshiba laptop (it requires a light distro), and although I knew it would be a bit adventurous for someone without much experience of Linux like me, I thought it would be a good way to learn. The first two updates I did went right (although the last one changed bits of my "Menu" - no big deal), then things got more complicated.

So, after the first two updates (done with Update Manager), I realised the way I had initially partitioned my HDD was not right, and I figured the easiest way was to reinstall. The install went well but then I wanted to update the system - that's where things went wrong. There was about 600 updates totalling 400+ Mb. That was a big load making particularly hard to figure where the problem came from.

I understand that before updating one should always look at possible breakage issues. I try to read the thread on that topic but due to its "conversational" nature it is very hard to go through it and find relevant informations. I think it would be very convenient if it had sub-sections labelled according to the problem at issue.

Also, I have not found any way to organise the list of updates (in Update Manager) in a chronological way. Is there a way to backtrack and cancel an update if it causes problem?

I try to use Synaptic and found that many of the updates are actually "optional" while others are "important". I guess some are security related updates. Is there any (simple) way, in Update Manager and Synaptic, to filter updates according to their importance? I mean, why do I need to update? (1) for security reasons, (2) because it makes my system work more efficiently, (3) it fixes parts that do not work properly or are broken. But if my system works well, it is just about points (1) and (2) really. I understand that an "optional" upgrade is of the second category, and if everything works well I should only worry about the "important" updates.

In the Update Manager, do all Level 3 updates end up in Level 2 at some point? (Meaning they've been tested). Should I only update with Level 1 and 2 upgrades?

I understand I might be out of my league here but in any case, thanks for the advices and help, and thank you for the good work done with Linux Mint.
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Re: Updates - How do you manage

Postby karashata on Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:36 pm

I can't say I've ever used Mint Update in LMDE, I just use Synaptic. Unlike the Ubuntu base which Mint Update is built for, the Debian base is a little harder to just pick and choose your updates from (and doesn't really work with the level system designed for Ubuntu) and it's really recommended to just update everything to make sure all of the dependencies are properly pulled and that obsolete programs are removed.

What I did for my initial update after a fresh install is opened Synaptic and refreshed the sources to make sure everything was current, then I switched to the Status view and changed it to show 'Installed (upgradable)' packages. I then selected the entire list, right-clicked and selected the option to upgrade, then carefully reviewed the list of other changes that came up after a short while (since by default Synaptic appears to use dist-upgrade to determine the best course of action) and made a list of anything that added that I didn't need or want (kexec-tools and a handful of liveCD-related programs that were apparently pulled because not everything related to the liveCD environment was removed after installation, off the top of my head) and anything that was removed that I wanted (in order to possibly determine what updates might be removing them and possibly not pulling those updates, I don't actually recall anything like this happening with anything but Xchat, but that was a slightly different issue I had to fix afterward). Then I went through the list of upgrades and marked all of the unwanted upgrades (the ones I didn't want that were pulling the other liveCD environment tools) for complete removal, switched my view to 'All', unmarked all of the applications that were pulled as dependencies by those apps so they wouldn't be installed, then went through with the upgrades. It was a long process, but after it was finished I was fully updated (except for Xchat which had been removed due to an incompatibility).

To fix Xchat, I temporarily disabled the Linux Mint repos in order to pull in the version of Xchat from the Debian repos that was compatible with the version of libcairo that had been updated, since the version supplied by Mint's repos was out-dated and incompatible. After reinstalling Xchat from the Debian repos, I re-enabled the Mint repos and was finished.

Since then, I've added the sid and experimental repos and I've been updating every package that doesn't try to uninstall large chunks of my application base or particular applications that I want. Lately the only updates I can't apply are a Java SQL database update, and a few each of Perl and Python updates, since they all result in certain applications being uninstalled to to incompatibilities with the newer versions.

(I'm aware this is a little long-winded, but I didn't know how better to explain the process I used. I hope you can understand it, if not feel free to message me and I'll try to explain it step-by-step...)
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Re: Updates - How do you manage

Postby Tsunum on Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:37 am

Hi Karashata,

Thanks for the explanations. Quite a lengthy process you're describing there, I am not sure I have time to do this at the moment, but thank you anyway for your help - much appreciated.

So you just keep your system updated and address eventual breakage on a case by case basis? or do you try to anticipate any problem by carefully reading the breakage list every time a new update is available?
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Re: Updates - How do you manage

Postby DataMan on Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:15 am

I'd just like to add a footnote based on my experiences today.

I typically do my updates on a monthly basis for my production ops. Today I kicked off the Update Manager and proceeded to plow through the downloads. When it came time to install, Level 1 went through with no problems. At Level 3 I encountered errors relating to libpan0g. Doing a bit of research, I found that there is a bug submittal on this library. Repeating the process while omitting the libpan library from the updates yielded the same results.

I then proceeded to do the terminal level updates / upgrades

Code: Select all
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get clean


All of the updates and upgrades were installed via the above (no errors).

If you're getting errors via the Update Manager, you might want to consider the above.

A footnote on all of this. With Debian as with the other platforms, I always run a partition level backup before and after kicking off any repository updates or upgrades.

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Re: Updates - How do you manage

Postby karashata on Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:23 pm

Tsunum wrote:Hi Karashata,

Thanks for the explanations. Quite a lengthy process you're describing there, I am not sure I have time to do this at the moment, but thank you anyway for your help - much appreciated.

So you just keep your system updated and address eventual breakage on a case by case basis? or do you try to anticipate any problem by carefully reading the breakage list every time a new update is available?


I usually just take a chance and update everything I can as the updates show up in the package list. Thankfully I've managed to avoid any breakages, though I'm sure if they happened I'd have to address them on a case-by-case basis. I do check the breakages thread here on the forums, though I have yet to encounter any of those breakages myself.

I also usually make sure I carefully look through the list of other package changes before I apply an update operation in case any packages I'm about to update want to remove other packages I either need to or want to keep, that way I can avoid updating those packages. Currently I've had to avoid updating Perl (since it wants to remove Xchat and a few other packages I'm not sure it's safe to remove), Pidgin (since it wants to pull the newer version of Perl), a couple of Python packages (they would remove a number of Mint's utilities and more packages I'm unsure whether or not it's safe to remove), and a couple of Linux kernel updates (due to the package dependencies not being met, they want to pull 3.0.0 rc1 but the packages don't exist in the repos yet).

I hope you find this extra information helpful.

EDIT: Something else to add (as I'm currently experiencing it), I seem to encounter more issues updating some packages than I encounter issues because of packages I updated. If I encounter issues while trying to update certain packages, I'll deselect them from the list and finish updating everything else before I try to update them again. If I still encounter issues after updating everything else, I'll usually leave them alone and wait for a newer version to come out that might fix the issue I'm having trying to get them updated.
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Re: Updates - How do you manage

Postby sgosnell on Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:29 pm

MintUpdate doesn't work well with Debian Testing. I go through the terminal and use
Code: Select all
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

That normally works, but there are occasional breakages, although probably fewer than there will be with using MintUpdate over the long term. Clem has promised to provide a real update tool for LMDE, but it hasn't happened yet.
Asus eee-pc 900 w/ 32GB SSD.
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Re: Updates - How do you manage

Postby craigevil on Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:47 pm

1) Use smxi
2) Make sure you have both apt-listbugs and apt-listchanges installed.
3) Follow the debian dev,security, and bug mailing-lists.
4) Do not use Synaptic to upgrade KDE/Gnome/Xorg
5) Pay close attention to what is being upgraded/installed/removed.
6) Be happy and never have to reinstall Debian ever again. :)
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Re: Updates - How do you manage

Postby rhodry on Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:34 pm

craigevil wrote:1) Use smxi
2) Make sure you have both apt-listbugs and apt-listchanges installed.
3) Follow the debian dev,security, and bug mailing-lists.
4) Do not use Synaptic to upgrade KDE/Gnome/Xorg
5) Pay close attention to what is being upgraded/installed/removed.
6) Be happy and never have to reinstall Debian ever again. :)


+1

Exactly!; same here. I have not had one breakage (Gnome or Xfce versions) that was not fixable with a little determined reading and application of fixes from forums. I have done over 40 installs of these kept up to date this way.

Can I add, joining Debian Forums as well as here is useful for LMDE users. Forget Mint 11 etc when discussing LMDE variants. We are based on Debian. Many things will be different, and even more so with Ubuntu's divergence to becoming a phone app rather than a computer desktop.

I have said this elsewhere on this forum; install and learn to use Aptoncd regularly. You will only ever have to download the "mass" of LMDE updates ONCE, even if you do need a re-install.

cheers,
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Re: Updates - How do you manage

Postby Tsunum on Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:23 pm

Hi,

Many thanks to all to take the time to answer my questions and provide more information. I guess I have now to explore the various options that are mentioned.
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