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Fedora Introduces Offline Updates 287

itwbennett writes "Thanks to a new feature approved this week by the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee, you won't hear Fedora 18 users bragging about systems that have been running continuously for months on end. 'Fedora's new Offline System Update feature will change the current system to something that is more Windows- and OS X-like: while many updates can still be made on the fly, certain package updates will require the system to be restarted so the patches can be applied in a special mode, according to the Fedora wiki page on the feature,' writes blogger Brian Proffitt."
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Fedora Introduces Offline Updates

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  • um... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lister king of smeg ( 2481612 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @06:51PM (#40405665)

    why is this a good thing exactly?

  • by elysiuan ( 762931 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @06:51PM (#40405669) Homepage

    "Installing updates while the session is running causes havoc with some apps like Firefox that have file resources that have not been locked (just try updating xulrunner when Firefox or Thunderbird is open)," blogged Fedora developer Richard Hughes.

    Seems to me adding features to the package system that can determine and possibly correct such things (ie, closing Firefox or Thunderbird) would be the better way to go rather than force me to have to reboot. Hopefully it will retain the capability to install new software while updates are pending. I'd hate to have to reboot to install some tiny dependency. (A restart is required before you can install libfoo. Ugh!)

  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <jmorris@ b e a u .org> on Thursday June 21, 2012 @06:51PM (#40405673)

    Good grief, the Stupid coming from Fedora and the GNOMEs is making my head hurt. We managed to update running systems with package management for how long? Leave it to the GNOMEs to fudge things up.... or just have Mac/Windows envy and convince themselves that this isn't a bug, it is a feature!

  • by silas_moeckel ( 234313 ) <silas.dsminc-corp@com> on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:09PM (#40405871) Homepage

    So a bunch of gui apps are breaking things? Step A tell them there idiots and to fix there broken bits. Step B go down to text mode and back lets the X sessions figure themselves out. Why would you need a reboot for any of this. Server apps should be restarted if needed and user apps should not be so broken.

  • by tuffy ( 10202 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:16PM (#40405935) Homepage Journal

    Seems to me adding features to the package system that can determine and possibly correct such things (ie, closing Firefox or Thunderbird) would be the better way to go rather than force me to have to reboot.

    This is exactly right. Look at the Flash updater on other systems. If a browser is running, Flash closes it down during an update. Fedora could easily detect Firefox is running and close that down during an update. If X11 needs an update, bounce the user to the console until it completes. And so forth. A whole boot mode just for installing "extra important" updates feels like the wrong approach to a more general problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:18PM (#40405953)

    They are finally dropping the tired dogma and figuring out what everyone in the commercial world figured out 20 years ago. Yes, you can live update your simple LAMP setup and manually restart Apache. However, in a desktop environment, you have a complex series of library dependancies, the only feasible way to ensure everything is updated is to restart the world. Otherwise you have users running with known security holes for months until they feel like rebooting. This is a good sign that Linux is finally targeting normal users and not just unix administrators.

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:31PM (#40406083) Homepage Journal

    "Installing updates while the session is running causes havoc with some apps like Firefox that have file resources that have not been locked (just try updating xulrunner when Firefox or Thunderbird is open)," blogged Fedora developer Richard Hughes.

    When Ubuntu noticed this same problem, they included a Firefox extension to tell the user to restart. Fedora tries to re-plumb the OS and re-invent the behavior Windows is moving away from instead?

    Fortuantely, it looks like this is constrained to the GNOME environment at the moment, so most of us may be safe - for now. I'll have to surf over to the KDE list to see if there's some righteous indignation going on there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:31PM (#40406085)

    Not really, it's pretty easy.

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:56PM (#40406303) Journal

    I actually took time to read the TFA and as many background freaking thing that are related that I can find on this thing, and tell you the truth, I am still trying to understand

    I just do not understand why they want to take the thing offline, in order to run an update

    I mean, what is wrong in keeping the system running while the patches run in the background?

    I can understand it if the thing got a big hit - either from a worm attack or trojan or attacks from the outside - ... in real big emergency where the system can't just take it anymore, maybe, just maybe, take the whole thing offline (or power down the entire system), that makes sense

    But ... just updating the damn thing you gotta take it offline, just like Windoze?

    What's the freaking point?

  • Re:um... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @07:58PM (#40406317)
    You need to read the summary. When they say offline, they aren't referring to the internet, they're referring to your OS, ie you have to restart to apply the update. Just like Windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2012 @08:12PM (#40406449)

    OS X has an "offline updater" and just reboots the machine. My Mac boots in like 5 seconds off an SSD, so what you're suggesting is a lot more complicated and would be only be slightly faster.

    It's not 1998 anymore, every OS is stable and can boot quickly. Nobody cares about your "uptime".

  • by sdnoob ( 917382 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @08:21PM (#40406527)

    updates have been working just fine for years.. i don't understand either... sounds more like being too lazy to write proper post-install/update scripts that could trigger or recommend a reboot *when necessary*


    to those who keep saying..

    "i wish linux were more like windows"

    there ya go. hope you're happy.

    now sod off.

  • by ffflala ( 793437 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @08:29PM (#40406587)
    A lot of Windows users have been burned enough to have learned the lesson that updates will not only interrupt your work flow, but risk dumping your unsaved files and/or the tabs that they were in the middle of reading when the update dialog popped up. These users are taught that the responsible thing to do is to keep their systems up to date, but what seems worse: an action that risks dumping all of your unsaved progress, or a "security update" that fixes something that hasn't been a visible problem on their end?

    The workaround to the focus-stealing forced-reboot update is, of course, is simply *not to apply the updates in a timely fashion.* As long as their applications are up and running, and they'd prefer to leave them up and running, why would they?

    With this move FC is just setting itself up for the deprioritization of updates, and this could ultimately lead to worse security and stability.
  • by Kjellander ( 163404 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @10:58PM (#40407443)

    try resizing your /var or / LVM partitions while the system is running, let me know how that goes. This is because real enterprises have issues your linux server in mom's basement don't.

    I have been doing exactly that for years, and it is only been getting easier. These are the commands you need to use if you have them stacked LVM->DMCRYPT->EXT4

    cryptsetup resize

    Use the tools in the stacking order that you have used to set up your system.

    So I'm letting you know right now, if you actually know Linux system administration, it has worked fine for years and years. First online resize of a filesystem that was mounted over the network for a lot of users I did back in 2001.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Friday June 22, 2012 @12:56AM (#40408205)

    Well, yes they can get away with patching on the fly for a lot of things, but really the system needs a reboot or it might be unstable. Some things may segfault if libraries get yanked out from underfoot

    Library changes don't effect running programs that have already loaded the libraries. The file on disk is updated; the program won't be linked against new libraries until it is restarted.

    Ever see what happens when a glibc upgrade goes awry? You can't even so much as run "ls". Many times have I had to boot with other media and finish a glibc install by hand.

    This is why you need a package manager. GLIBC is a critical system library.

    Requiring a reboot for a GLIBC update makes it scarier, not safer.

    Hardware doesn't always come back up when you issue 'reboot'; you know, especially when you are doing the update remotely, to systems several hundred miles away, and don't have the luxury of a computer monitor and power switch.

    Sometimes the reboot takes a long time; sometimes you have a component such as a RAID card that hates warm boots, and will fail to come up properly after a reset until you cold boot.

  • by retchdog ( 1319261 ) on Friday June 22, 2012 @01:21AM (#40408383) Journal

    yeah, you've summed it up for me. most of the rage here is people who don't know what they're really doing (so they need fedora and auto-updaters), but they still want their 1337 uptime wankery. fuck 'em.

... when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. -- Fred Brooks