peterldg wrote:How often does a 4 or 5 update screw up the entire installation?
At a guess, I would say rarely.
peterldg wrote:I've updated from kernel 3.8 to 3.10 with no problems. The update saved my 3.8 install in my GRUB menu so I can always revert to it if I wish. Seems like a no brainer to me.
That tends to work with kernel updates, I suppose. With the last distro that I used (as my every-day OS), when there was a kernel update, I received it along with the other updates - and never encountered an issue - as there was no system of "levels." The previous kernels were still, as you mentioned, available via the GRUB menu (until I removed them).
I am tempted to suggest that kernel updates should be given a lower "level" number, as their potential
importance would appear to warrant it. Alas, a newer kernel is not guaranteed to be a "better" one, and I would guess that, often, the changes introduced do not benefit everyone (for example, a change is introduced which takes advantage of a feature present in a new(er) CPU... this does nothing for those who own systems with older CPUs). And this does not even consider the change which might cause problems for a given user; while I believe such problems are relatively rare, they have been known to occur.
IMHO, it is a sign that too much
"stuff" now dwells within the kernel. It has become too generalized of a component. "Oh, that's in the kernel now..." When (much more) was separate, it was easier to think of different things having different "safety" ratings. With so much combined, though... The kernel could be considered to be a component that carries the importance of a level one(?) update - but still comes with at least the potential for harm that a level five designation would suggest.
I have this idea, IDK whether it is correct or not, that the developers of linux, in general, do not develop for the "least common denominator. In the Microsoft OS world, things might be closer to mediocrity than masterpiece, lol - but, hey, it'll run on most current computers. With linux, there is some striving to leave mediocrity behind, but this precludes the "works on anything" bit, I guess. IOW, if you just keep adding things as soon as they come out, sooner or later you'll likely break something.
I used to do a bit of racing. Make a change, hey that's great. Make another change, wow even better. Make yet another change... I just became an involuntary member of the DotC Club (Driven over the Crank) as I coasted over the bits and pieces of my engine that I spat through my oil pan onto the pavement. In my mind, linux carries with it the possibility of that. Unlikely with a bit of common sense - but there is much less of the "nanny protector."
Clem's use of the safety/stability rating system is a way to help prevent us users driving over pieces I mean being left with an unbootable computer. That's a good thing. Is it the best possible setup? Probably not, at least not for everyone - but I imagine that it has allowed more people to use linux as a "dumb user" than as a "geek." There does not
seem to be a great number of posts here that begin with, "Hey, I installed today's updates on my computer. So now I'm posting this from my friend's computer to ask how I can make my computer functional again..."
I guess that security can carry risk; take away the risk, you take away some of the security. But that appears to be what the (US, at least) public wants. They've been lining up for years now to hand over both their security and their privacy for a little convenience, a few bells, a whistle or two, and something shiny. Perhaps the way Mint has things set up is just an example of playing to the actual wishes - as evidenced by their actions - of the public instead of their stated wishes. I think that, once, you could have given someone one of those Google cell phones and, after examining it, they'd have buried the thing out back in the midden heap. Now... Now, they pay two weeks salary (or worse, sign a two-year Rent to Own (
) contract so that they can actually pay 3-4x the price) for the chance to pour their "private" data into it and out into the world. Go figure....
Perhaps it would be better to default to accepting ALL updates, but to have a foolproof (I know, I know, design something to be foolproof... and they'll just design a better fool, lol) "rollback" type of safety net? Then again, there already is such a thing - it's called backing up your system, and I'd be willing to guess that the majority of people who own and/or use a computer don't bother.
Regards (and rambles),