Please make automatic updates user-friendly

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karsti
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Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by karsti » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:36 am

I know about two dozen Linux Mint users personally. We have a small local Linux user group. We love Linux Mint but all have the same gripes.

ALL of us just install new updates as they come in. We don't know, don't care and are not even able to figure out if new updates should be installed or not. We just install them. I think this is just the reality of MOST LM users.

Updates come often and it is super tedious to double click the Update icon, type in your passwort and trigger the darn update manually.

Why do we have to do this? Why is there not a single Checkbox in the Preferences that allows people to activate automatic updates?

AND YES: it is probably possible to turn on automatic updates via the command line. And MANY of us tried and failed! All the descriptions showing how to turn on automatic updates out there DONT WORK!

I don't need automatic updates to be a DEFAULT. I just want the Option in the Preferences to turn it on. No command line with many steps, sudos, file editing, and in the end it does not work and maybe it works somehow but you messed something up without ever noticing!

Linux Mint is so much better then this! Why is it still stuck in the middle ages when it comes to automatic updates?
Last edited by xenopeek on Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: toned down language used; see our forum rules

Jeepty
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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by Jeepty » Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:33 am

karsti wrote:ALL of us just install new updates as they come in. We don't know, don't care and are not even able to figure out if new updates should be installed or not. We just install them. I think this is just the reality of MOST LM users.
Hi Karsti,

I like the idea of an easy option for auto updates, but only for update levels 1-3. Those level 4 and 5 updates can play havoc with a system, or so I am told. In fact, I have gone through mintupdate > preferences and disabled level 4 and 5 updates.

Just to add a slightly embarrassing story....

When I first began using mint, I thought that the red level 5 updates were the most imprortant, red flagged, security patches (no, I never read any docs on updates) and I made it a point to install every one that came down the line. Nothing bad ever happened, but I was wrong for sure.

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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by Pjotr » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:33 am

Bad idea. There should be no easy option for automatic updates. Wrong behaviour shouldn't be facilitated. :shock:

There's no need to *inspect* updates beforehand (that would of course be unworkable), but updates should always be installed *consciously*. So that you notice it at once when things go wrong, and so that you can act immediately to repair things if necessary.
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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by Dyfi » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:25 pm

Automatic updates - definitely a no no. I agree with Pjotr. You should control your own PC, not someone sending updates in the background. You may not be aware of what is happening and power off in the middle of downloading or upgrading.

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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by karsti » Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:26 pm

Pjotr wrote:Bad idea. There should be no easy option for automatic updates. Wrong behaviour shouldn't be facilitated. :shock:

There's no need to *inspect* updates beforehand (that would of course be unworkable), but updates should always be installed *consciously*. So that you notice it at once when things go wrong, and so that you can act immediately to repair things if necessary.
Sorry. But realistically this makes sense for maybe 10% of LM users out there! LinuxMint is THE most recommended distribution for absolute Linux Newbies. Those Newbies (I count myself amoung them) don't know nothing about those updates or how to fix ANYTHING if it goes wrong! Let me repeat it: they know NOTHING! They also don't read what is updated or even have the slightest clue how to fix problems.

Again: I don't ask to make automatic updates a default! Go ahead and even show a scary warning dialog when people want to turn on automatic updates! Still, it should be there in the preferences UI!

At the moment people like me just fiddle around with broken descriptions as how to activate automatic updates. And they have no clue if they did something horribly wrong or not. We are talking about manually editing text files with sudo. Also the tutorials showing how to do it are outdated or just plain broken! This is just insane! But yes, having something like automatic updates you can turn on in the preferences is stupid. Sure.

I mean at least allow automatic updates for security level 1 & 2...maybe 3. Those are very safe! And again: even if they were not safe - normal LM users don't know and don't care. And they won't care. Ever! Either you accept that 90% of the community just install updates as they come and can't fix shit if it is broken, you realize that automatic updates can actually much more good then not having them!

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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by Habitual » Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:32 pm

karsti wrote:Why is there not a single Checkbox in the Preferences that allows people to activate automatic updates?
Like Windows?

and automatic updates won't fix broken anything.
Last edited by Habitual on Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

karsti
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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by karsti » Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:33 pm

Dyfi wrote:Automatic updates - definitely a no no. I agree with Pjotr. You should control your own PC, not someone sending updates in the background. You may not be aware of what is happening and power off in the middle of downloading or upgrading.
You are speaking for the vocal 10% of LM users. I speak for 90% of the newbie users (unwashed masses) who don't care and won't ever care. Please accept that those users exist!

We are not forcing the 10% to turn on automatic updates. We just ask for an option for us 90% to have a UI option to turn it on. The alternative is that people won't even install updates at all (I know a lot of people who actually do that). Other people I know tried and failed to turn on automatic updates on the command line. Using "sudo" is never a good idea for some people and maybe they even broke something trying to turn it on. I only know what all those people have in common: they hate the current situation with updates!

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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by karsti » Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:39 pm

Habitual wrote:
karsti wrote:Why is there not a single Checkbox in the Preferences that allows people to activate automatic updates?
Like Windows?

and automatic updates won't fix broken anything.
Does Windows 10 have this? Windows 1-8.1 didn't have it afaik. What is the argument? If Windows doesn't have it, LM doesn't need it? Or if Windows has it LM shouldn't have it? Or if Windows has it, LM should have it?

Who cares about Windows?! Let's build a LM that is open to everybody. Even total beginners who just want to use LM without studying for years! Automatic updates are an important step to get there!

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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by Fred Barclay » Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:59 pm

No thanks.
I've seen this for far too long. :lol:
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And BTW: I didn't study for years. :) I haven't even used Linux for a year.
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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by Pjotr » Mon Aug 10, 2015 5:31 pm

Much ado about....not so much. It's practically a non-issue.

Having to click on an update warning in the system tray. And then having to type your password for installing the updates. I fail to see what could be so bloody awful about that, even in the eyes of the "unwashed masses". :mrgreen:
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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by Cosmo. » Mon Aug 10, 2015 5:37 pm

karsti wrote:Windows 1-8.1 didn't have it afaik.
Sounds as if the problem lies in afaik. Or what is this or that?

I also wonder, what a user might have to study for clicking on the update-manager icon in case of a blue shield and click again on apply? What might someone be able to do with a computer (any OS), if those simple clicks would need "studying for years"? There does not exist many software, where a user can take the complete usability with 2 clicks on very obvious places, no browser, no multimedia-program, no office or whatever you need. Your arguments have holes like your afaik about Windows updates. Don't expect, that you can convince many people with these holes.

Mint is - in my understanding - build with the goal to give the user a special high degree of stability. Automatic updates lead to the contrary.
You described yourself as a Newbie. This is normal at the beginning, everybody here has started as such. But don't you think, that a Newbie should count on the experience of users, who have left this state in the past? And this especially, if the answers of all replying to you lead into the same direction?

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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by karsti » Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:07 pm

It is a usability issue. Updates come in sometimes many times a day. If most people just click apply and type in their passwords WITHOUT every reviewing anything, that all this is just stupid monkey-clicking and typing.

I just told you what a lot of people find annoying about LM and your only answer is: "I don't need this. So nobody needs this."

It's the same people who claim for almost a decade that nobody needs Gimp with a single-window. Sure. Let's throw all accepted UI principles over board. Bury our heads in the sand. Ignore everybody else and that will solve the problem in the long run.

And somehow implying "automatic updates" would somehow change the LM update experience to the horrible Windows update experience is just a misleading argument. Updates on LM - automatic or manual - would not interfere negatively like it does on Windows.

Again: I am not asking for automatic updates by DEFAULT. Just a simple UI option. Even with a nice warning dialog if you want to turn it on. Why would anyone oppose this valid wish of many users?

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Fred Barclay
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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by Fred Barclay » Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:49 pm

karsti wrote: And somehow implying "automatic updates" would somehow change the LM update experience to the horrible Windows update experience is just a misleading argument. Updates on LM - automatic or manual - would not interfere negatively like it does on Windows.
@karsti: first, please understand my opposition to this idea doesn't mean I think you are stupid. I'm afraid all of this is being taken too personally.

With that said, I've been a pretty active member here for almost a year, and I've seen plenty of problems caused by updates. One of the things that makes Mint, Mint, is that it is very conservative in its update policy. It's even more strict than Ubuntu by assigning levels to updates and only giving updates from level 1 through level 3 by default, and by not upgrading kernels automatically. This is what keeps Mint stable and helps it avoid crashes. So most of us here (who either (a) are satisfied with the update method as is, or (b) can recover from a crash or regression) would probably not support this idea. I know I don't. :)

Anyway, it should be relatively trivial to write a bash code that'd do exactly what you want. It might be a little harder to integrate it with the Update Manger, rather than have it as standalone, but not too much.
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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by Jeepty » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:20 pm

karsti wrote:Updates come often and it is super tedious to double click the Update icon, type in your password and trigger the darn update manually.
Hi Karsti,

This doesn't exactly get you what you want but you could edit the preferences in the Update Manager to check for new updates once daily. No command line, no scripts, nice and simple. It won't be automatic, but at least you'll only have to deal with updates once. Heck, you could even set it to once a week if you really wanted to. Now of course, the downside is you won't get security updates as quickly but it could save your user group from pulling out its hair. the pros and cons of this are unique to each person, of course.

http://community.linuxmint.com/idea/view/510

Check that out. The community votes on these types of things over there.

I get what folks like Fred Barclay and Pjotr are saying, and I've seen their level of expertise demonstrated elsewhere in these forums. Linux is about choice (lots of choice) and control. Giving up some control goes against why most use Linux and open source in general.

However, I get why you want the option. After all, Linux is about choice (lots of choice) and control. :wink:

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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by karsti » Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:20 am

Fred Barclay wrote:
karsti wrote: And somehow implying "automatic updates" would somehow change the LM update experience to the horrible Windows update experience is just a misleading argument. Updates on LM - automatic or manual - would not interfere negatively like it does on Windows.
@karsti: first, please understand my opposition to this idea doesn't mean I think you are stupid. I'm afraid all of this is being taken too personally.

With that said, I've been a pretty active member here for almost a year, and I've seen plenty of problems caused by updates. One of the things that makes Mint, Mint, is that it is very conservative in its update policy. It's even more strict than Ubuntu by assigning levels to updates and only giving updates from level 1 through level 3 by default, and by not upgrading kernels automatically. This is what keeps Mint stable and helps it avoid crashes. So most of us here (who either (a) are satisfied with the update method as is, or (b) can recover from a crash or regression) would probably not support this idea. I know I don't. :)

Anyway, it should be relatively trivial to write a bash code that'd do exactly what you want. It might be a little harder to integrate it with the Update Manger, rather than have it as standalone, but not too much.
I mentioned earlier, one could restrict automatic updates to level 1 through level 3 to make it safe.

I agree with everything you said. Still, how would automatic updates make things in any way worse for users? The truth is, most people just install the updates without review. None. This is basically automatic updates with a lot of clicks and typing your password. Honestly: please try to answer the question: how is the automatic updates I suggested different from the manual update we currently have the way most people handle updates?

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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by karsti » Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:33 am

Jeepty wrote:
karsti wrote:Updates come often and it is super tedious to double click the Update icon, type in your password and trigger the darn update manually.
Hi Karsti,

This doesn't exactly get you what you want but you could edit the preferences in the Update Manager to check for new updates once daily. No command line, no scripts, nice and simple. It won't be automatic, but at least you'll only have to deal with updates once. Heck, you could even set it to once a week if you really wanted to. Now of course, the downside is you won't get security updates as quickly but it could save your user group from pulling out its hair. the pros and cons of this are unique to each person, of course.

http://community.linuxmint.com/idea/view/510

Check that out. The community votes on these types of things over there.

I get what folks like Fred Barclay and Pjotr are saying, and I've seen their level of expertise demonstrated elsewhere in these forums. Linux is about choice (lots of choice) and control. Giving up some control goes against why most use Linux and open source in general.

However, I get why you want the option. After all, Linux is about choice (lots of choice) and control. :wink:
I wouldn't mind if turning on automatic updates would be an official bash script. The tutorials how to turn it on available are very difficult and don't work anymore with 17.1!

Giving up control you say? Well, I have to give up control since I cannot control the automatic installation of updates. I cannot control the way updates are installed! How would the OPTION to activate automatic updates for level 1 and 2 take away control from other people who CHOOSE not to turn on automatic updates?
Limiting the amount of choice you have also limits the amount of control.

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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by karsti » Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:36 am

Btw...I have level 4 and 5 deactivated in the update manager preferences. Both the safe and visible checkboxes are unchecked!

Still, the update manager shows level 4 and 5 updates to me. I usually install them since I have no clue what else to do and I have no way to figure out if I should or not.

Why do I see updates level 4 & 5?

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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by karlchen » Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:54 am

Hi, karsti.

At the bottom of the preferences dialogue there are to additional settings, and they will be enabled in your case:
[x] Always show security updates
[x] Always select & trust security updates
Cf. the Linux Mint 17 User guide, p. 40, where it displays the preferences dialogue.

Cheers,
Karl
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P.S.:
I wonder a bit why the newer Linux Mint 17.2 User Guide, p. 41, no longer displays these 2 options, but presents the old dialogue as it can be seen on Mint 13 still, which does not have the 2 extra options.
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karsti
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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by karsti » Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:41 pm

karlchen wrote:Hi, karsti.

At the bottom of the preferences dialogue there are to additional settings, and they will be enabled in your case:
[x] Always show security updates
[x] Always select & trust security updates
Cf. the Linux Mint 17 User guide, p. 40, where it displays the preferences dialogue.

Cheers,
Karl
--
P.S.:
I wonder a bit why the newer Linux Mint 17.2 User Guide, p. 41, no longer displays these 2 options, but presents the old dialogue as it can be seen on Mint 13 still, which does not have the 2 extra options.
Thanks. I have 17.2 and the two options were moved to the "Options" tab. Somehow its connection to the "Levels" tab is lost. So I see Level 4 and 5 updates if they somehow are "security updates"?

This is somehow confusing. Obviously I want to install security updates (I guess) but the Level-definition tells me that Level 4 and 5 are not trustworthy. Very confusing all this.

As I said...automatic updates could do NO HARM compared to manual updates for most users :)

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Re: Please make automatic updates user-friendly

Post by karsti » Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:47 pm

Btw...I forgot to mention. 5 people in my LM user group tried to activate automatic updates using one of the many guides out there. As I mentioned those guides are outdated and broken. Those 5 guys messed up a lot by manually editing system files that govern automatic updates. In the end they didn't manage to activate automatic updates. However, they probably messed up parts of their system. Who knows what will happen.

At this point I would even be happy about an offical LM 17 bash script that activates automatic updates.

I guess it is too much to ask for a UI checkbox in the update manager preferences. This would be dangerous since people could mess up things compared to following complicated and outdated online guides which always work and mess up nothing.

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