[Unresolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

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Re: LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby Trapper on Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:10 pm

GeneBenson wrote:Hi Trapper,
The correct command is: apt-get update


Okay GeneBenson. I guess I got apt update from Clem's post, where he said:
When you click on mintupdate, it launches itself in root mode, and that's why it asks for a password. When you type "apt update" (which is the same as "sudo apt-get update"), you're asked for a password too.. as you're elevating yourself as root to refresh the cache. Either way, you're refreshing your cache when you do that.


From that I figured they actually did the same. But I will change it.

Whatever, I do know the cron routine does resolve the notification issue. I fortunately had one update today and the notification icon did display to inform me of it.

Thanks again.
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Re: LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby Trapper on Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:40 am

I am going to update something here regarding the apt-get update routine I am using as a root cron job. Updating a specific times works well and when apt-get update does find available packages Mint Update will find those packages when it does its next refresh and it shows the availability icon. However, the apt-get update at boot up FAILS to do a repository update. The routine runs but it's evidently running before internet access is available during bootup. Logging shows it tries to do the update but cannot resolve any internet addresses. I've simply disabled update at bootup and run apt-get update cron jobs at periodic times. Works good.

I am marking this thread as resolved.
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Re: [Resolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby HappyLinux on Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:46 am

I've been directed to this thread from my own thread on this very same problem with MintUpdate.
http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=112213

For me, when I first installed Mint 13, MU worked fine. It told me that updates were available, and then there were updates to MU itself, and then nothing. No more automatic notification for updates. I also, now have to manually check for updates available.

I don't use Command Line because I wouldn't know what I'm telling it to update. I don't use Synaptics either, because it doesn't have that Level rating thingy which MU has. Which leaves me to manually use MU daily, even though I've told it to refresh hourly.

I may not be new to Linux, but I'm still a beginner. So I don't know what these "cron jobs" are. There's a limit to how much I can use command line. I'm also using a few 3rd party repos on my list.

Also, as someone else pointed out, I also have to input my password whenever I click the MU icon. And also, I agree that MU should notify you automatically of updates, just Like "Windows Update", and other OSes do.
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Re: [Resolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby Trapper on Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:51 pm

(This is a rush post so there could be errors.)

HappyLinux, here's an example of setting up a cron job to do updates.

*** I wont explain all the mechanics of the cron format but if you google cron job you'll find a good number of little howto's for cron. ***

In a terminal run:

Code: Select all
sudo crontab -e


That will open cron for root.

As an example, lets say you want to run an update cron job at 2.15 PM. This is what your cron entry would look like:

Code: Select all
15 14 * * * apt-get update


Once you have entered the info press Ctrl and the letter o. You should see a highlighted blurp asking to save the file to a file in /tmp. Hit enter to save the file. Then hit Ctrl and x to exit cron. The command line should say "crontab: installing new crontab". It may tell you something was incorrect, if you've made an error. If that's the case, try it all over again.

If you want to test and see if the cron job works correctly you can simply put the time to several minutes in the future and send output of the job to a file. Here's an example of that. Adjust path to your local home environment:

Code: Select all
12 16 * * * apt-get update > /home/me/somefolder/update.log 2>&1


When this job runs you should end up with a log file that shows hits, ignores, and gets at the repositories.

Once you are satisfied the cron job works correctly edit the cron job and set the times where you want the. Also, you can set up more jobs for other times in the day, if you wish. The first time entry is the minutes and the second is the hour in 24 hour time.

The next time there's an auto-refresh you'll be notified with the blue icon if the cron job found any available updates.

I know all this sounds like a strange way to do things but an update manager IS NOT an update notifier and mint update does not have a notifier. I have no idea if all that's changed with UP5. If it has, I am not yet aware of it.
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Re: [Resolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby cb474 on Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:37 pm

Trapper,

Thanks for the details on how to set up a cron job. I appreciate that and may use your solution.

But as far as the larger question goes, on which HappyLinux was commenting, is this really a reasonable solution for the general Linux Mint population? I'm not saying that you were suggesting it is a reasonable solution. I'm just saying, the relative complexity and effort involved in your solution only underscores what's wrong with MintUpdate. You solution is more of a helpful (and appreciated) work-around, for MintUpdate's shortcomings, that will appeal to intermediate or better Linux users and beginners wanting to learn more. But it does not really address the discrepancy between MintUpdate's failings and what Linux Mint is supposed to be.

Allow me to quote of Linux Mint's "About" page, on the main website (my emphases):

"The purpose of Linux Mint is to produce a modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use."

"It works out of the box, with full multimedia support and is extremely easy to use."

The cron job solution, I think, does not fit the bill for a distro claiming to "work out of the box," be "elegant," and be "extremely easy to use." As I and others have noted above, it is especially absurd for a function that just about every other OS out there has been capable of for years and years.

Again, I appreciate your help with explaining how to set up a cron job, but to the larger question I remain baffled how the state of MintUpdate can seem acceptable for Linux Mint and the sort of distro it purports to be.

*

By the way, MintUpdate used to be an update notifier. It has all the settings and icons built in to allow it to be an update notifier. Many users clearly find it misleading, in it's outward appearance, which seems to suggest that it is an update notifier. So I'm not sure how removing a function that MintUpdate used to have and then saying it's not an update notifier really solves the problem, both of functionality and of outward extremely misleading appearance. Changing what we call MintUpdate does not really address or solve the problem.
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Re: [Resolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby Trapper on Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:58 am

cb474 wrote:Trapper,


But as far as the larger question goes, on which HappyLinux was commenting, is this really a reasonable solution for the general Linux Mint population?
*
By the way, MintUpdate used to be an update notifier. It has all the settings and icons built in to allow it to be an update notifier. Many users clearly find it misleading, in it's outward appearance, which seems to suggest that it is an update notifier. So I'm not sure how removing a function that MintUpdate used to have and then saying it's not an update notifier really solves the problem, both of functionality and of outward extremely misleading appearance. Changing what we call MintUpdate does not really address or solve the problem.


cb474, is this a reasonable solution? Seeing that MintUpdate DOES NOT have a notifier, it's a more reasonable solution than "sudo apt-get update" in a terminal, clicking on the MintUpdate sheild and giving root password, or by doing basically the same in Synaptic. I say that because all those things are not automatic notifiers. There's none available so creating one becomes reasonable if you want to have notification automated.

Why MintUpdate doesn't have or no longer has an auto notifier is a different matter. Clem has discussed thast in various other threads. Actually, on page 2 of this thread I find a post by GeneBenson that has an excerpt of one of Clem's discussions concerning the notifier and his recommendation of an apt-get update cron job to facilitate notification automation if someone desires it. GeneBenson's post also has a link to the entire thread Clem was commenting in.

I also am bewildered why there is no longer an active auto notifier and have difficulty fathoming Clem's reasoning regarding the why's & why nots. I do know though that it pretty much beyond my scope to change any of that. It's Clem's project and he chooses the direction it takes. So the only alternative is for me to forget auto updating or make something that works as one. What I have given does work and it's actually only a matter of making a cron job entry. I agree that many users aren't going to try this but just about anyone could if they wanted to take a couple of minutes to do it.

I griped long enough in this thread and others and finally just bit the bullet and did something that works for me.
Last edited by Trapper on Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Resolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby HappyLinux on Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:08 pm

I agree with Trapper.

I just cannot fathom these things. I still can't fathom the need for doing a cron job when Update Manager use to have a notifier. Well, it still has, but it just doesn't work.

Sure there's workarounds. There almost always is a workaround, but not everyone can use them.

Linux Mint is meant to work straight out of the box, easy to use etc. It use to have a working Update Notifier, which means it no longer works out of the box and not as easy. How would Windows users, or MacOSX or Android users feel if there's updates available, but their update managers not longer tell them, despite settings to tell you when updates are available. It completely defeats the whole purpose.
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Re: [Resolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby cb474 on Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:48 pm

Um, it seems like everything you guys are saying is the same thing I was saying, so I think we're in agreement about MintUpdate's shortcomings and not understanding how there can be no working update notifier that ships with in Linux Mint. And yes I am aware of Clem's comments in other threads and have read this entire thread.

Trapper, I did not mean to question your cron job suggestion a reasonable solution for those of us stuck with regressive version of MintUpdate that no longer carries out the notifier functions it was obviously originally designed to do. You're right, we're stuck with the situation and the cron job work-around is as good as any. It's a prefectly reasonable, for those willing to go to the trouble of setting up the cron job.

What I meant to question is whether this is a reasonable soluiton for Linux Mint in general. I know you're the OP, but you did start this thread as a critique of what's wrong with MintUpate, not as a question about how you can get automatic notifications, by whatever means. So the cron job work-around sloves the problem for some users, but does not fix MintUpdate. I personally would not have marked this thread resolved. MintUpdate is stil broken and, in tihs respect, is a regression from it's previous versions. It does not work as any resonable person would expect and has a confusing and misleading design (keeping outward elements of its old update notifier functionality, while not actually carrying out that function). There are work arounds, but MintUpdate is not fixed. That's all I was saying.
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Re: [Unresolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby Trapper on Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:59 am

cb474, I know you weren't questioning my workaround and what you are irked with. I just sort of gave up on beating the dead horse a while back. My original post was multi-pronged. I was voicing my confusion and frustration over Mint's lack of update notification and I was also searching for a way to accomplish notification. Viewing it from that angle it's true that my OP is only partially resolved so I have gone back and indicated that the OP is unresolved. Perhaps that will lead to more discussion but I really question if it will have much impact on the status of mint updater's lack of auto notification. This concern has surfaced in numerous threads and Clem has said his piece concerning the notifier more than once.

I categorically stand by my belief that the argument for not having auto notification anymore in Mint is weak and must have some underlying reasoning involved with the choice of no auto notification. I say that because the stated rationale for not having auto notification is not at all convincing to most people searching for the 'why' of the matter. People are going to install the same updates whether those updates are presented to them by an auto updater or by manually checking for updates. There's absolutely no difference. The user is offered the same updates either way and their decision to update or not update is going to be the same in either case. I personally believe that the full reason why there is not an auto notifier routine has not been fully disclosed to us in an everyday, understandable manner. Perhaps that can be viewed as cynical reasoning but the apparent vague reasons why we have no auto notification influence me to consider we aren't getting full disclosure or it's not being explained to use clearly enough by the developer(s).

If anywhere throughout this entire thread I have erroneously referred to auto notification as auto updating, I apologize. I definitely am not a believer in auto updating and can see why someone would not want that. But not allowing a user the option of being automatically notified when updates are available? Come on now ... we all know that auto notification is standard, expected procedure everywhere with open source and commercialized OS's. Uh ... everywhere but here, that is.
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Re: [Unresolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby cb474 on Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:18 pm

Yeah, I probably should follow your wisdom and give up myself. It does seem like the decision has been made not to include an update notification function in MintUpdate.

Thanks for considering my opinion about whether or not the original problem presented in this thread has been resolved and changing the heading.

Onward to cron jobs!
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Re: [Unresolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby HappyLinux on Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:35 pm

I'm with you. I've basically given up arguing. Update Notifier is broken and the creators deny this, enough said. So, I'm sticking with manually checking for updates until further notice.

I just want common sense to prevail, that's all.
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Re: [Unresolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby cb474 on Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:53 pm

The one thing that does still totally drive me crazy is that even if one accepts that MintUpdate is not intended to have an automatic update notification function anymore, it still has all the settings and icons from it's previous incarnation designed to serve that purpose. So when you look at MintUpdate's settings and the icons in the notification bar, you're lead to believe that it is supposed to automatically notifiy you of updates.

It just doesn't make any sense. If MintUpdate is intended to no longer have this function, then get rid of the settings and icons that suggest it does have this function. Instead of a green check mark in the notification area, with a pop up that says, "your system is up to date" (when it's not), there should just be a neutral icon that when you mouse over it offers a pop up that says something like, "Click here to check for updates." And then they should get rid of all the settings in the preferences for "Refresh the list of updates every [x minutes, etc.]."

Leaving that stuff in there makes absolutely zero sense and is just confusing. You know, go one way or the other. Either provide the automatic notification functionality by default or get rid of the settings and icons that go along with that functionality. What is the benefit of an application with the buttons and icons and settings for a functionality that is not there?
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Re: [Unresolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby Trapper on Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:44 am

cb474 wrote:The one thing that does still totally drive me crazy is that even if one accepts that MintUpdate is not intended to have an automatic update notification function anymore, it still has all the settings and icons from it's previous incarnation designed to serve that purpose. So when you look at MintUpdate's settings and the icons in the notification bar, you're lead to believe that it is supposed to automatically notify you of updates.

It just doesn't make any sense. If MintUpdate is intended to no longer have this function, then get rid of the settings and icons that suggest it does have this function. Instead of a green check mark in the notification area, with a pop up that says, "your system is up to date" (when it's not), there should just be a neutral icon that when you mouse over it offers a pop up that says something like, "Click here to check for updates." And then they should get rid of all the settings in the preferences for "Refresh the list of updates every [x minutes, etc.]."

Leaving that stuff in there makes absolutely zero sense and is just confusing. You know, go one way or the other. Either provide the automatic notification functionality by default or get rid of the settings and icons that go along with that functionality. What is the benefit of an application with the buttons and icons and settings for a functionality that is not there?


I may be wrong but my thinking is that whatever we say in this thread probably goes unread by those that actually need to read it (the development team leaders). Perhaps direct contact with them will more effectively stir up the hornet nest.
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Re: [Unresolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby cb474 on Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:24 pm

You're probably right.
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Re: [Unresolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby squeezy on Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:31 pm

At least half a dozen installs since my last post in this thread and mintupdate continues to work every time for me. I don't get it?!
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Re: [Unresolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby Trapper on Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:19 am

squeezy wrote:At least half a dozen installs since my last post in this thread and mintupdate continues to work every time for me. I don't get it?!


Does for me too when I do it manually. Otherwise, it doesn't ... EXCEPT ... for the initial updates immediately after installation. After that I have to do manual apt-get update to get the update list appended with available updates. Then the 'refresh' detects the changes and I get visual notification of available updates. Thinking of it that way, the notification process actually does work. Mintupdate automatic updating at specific intervals is what's not happening. It isn't automatically doing repository checks. That's the reason for the apt-get update cron jobs we've been referring to.
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Re: [Unresolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby squeezy on Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:56 am

Nope, no cron jobs here, no manual activation. I go into my studio in the morning, jiggle the mouse to wake up the screen and there's a blue exclamation mark on the shield in the tray if there's updates. I've built both Ubuntu and straight Debian setups and used the appropriate mintupdate. Always works. Of course, I never get updates when I use the LMDE repos ( :wink: ), but on Wheezy and Sid it works fine. Same with the Ubu 12.04 builds I've done.

Is it because I keep my computer running 24/7? Plus, I'm always logged in. I just let the screen go to sleep when I'm not using the computer.
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Re: [Unresolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby squeezy on Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:36 am

Aha! I think I have figured out my peculiar success.

As part of my installs I routinely install a package called upgrade-system. I thought this was simply a command line util but just discovered it also installs a cron job that runs apt-get update every night.

Looks like I have inadvertently implemented the same "solution" you guys are using :lol:
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Re: [Unresolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby cb474 on Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:13 am

It sounds like the upgrade-system util is probably why MintUpdate notices the updates, as you figured out. But I also wonder if leaving your system on and logged in all the time would also do it?

When you click on the MintUpdate notification icon it asks you for your root password and then immediately checks the repos. After that it remains logged in as root. So if you never shutdown or log out, it would still have the privileges necessary to periodically check the repos, according to the settings in MintUpdate preferences.

Someone already quoted Clem above saying (my emphasis):
When you login first, mintupdate is launched with your own permissions... i.e. in user mode. When in that mode it runs only in the system tray, and it does not have sufficient permissions to perform an "apt update". In other words, it does check every X minutes whether things are available, but it cannot refresh the APT cache. So if you use some other APT program in the meantime and thus refresh the APT cache yourself, mintupdate is then able to find new available updates.... if that makes sense...

When you click on mintupdate to see its main window, it basically kills itself and re-launches in root mode. That's why it asks for a password. So, once you've seen the mintupdate main window, from that moment on, it's running in root mode. Before it shows the window, and before it checks for updates it refreshes the APT cache.

This would seem to suggest that once MintUpdate is in root mode, then it will be able to refresh the apt cache and provide notifications. So perhaps you've "solved" the problem in two ways, since you effectively always leave MintUpdate in root mode, by never logging out.
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Re: [Unresolved] LM13 and LMDE - Useless auto update manager

Postby HappyLinux on Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:13 pm

Being always logged in doesn't help. I leave my computer logged in for hours on end, unless I've loaded the computer into Win7, or shut the computer off at night. When I click on the UpdateManager logo it asks for my password. It will stay logged in for about 10 minutes. So for me, I still have to manual checks for updates.
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