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Thread: The GNOME 3.12 Software Center Sees Some Improvements

  1. #1
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    Default The GNOME 3.12 Software Center Sees Some Improvements

    Phoronix: The GNOME 3.12 Software Center Sees Some Improvements

    GNOME Software, the "app store" for managing software installed on the system using PackageKit/AppData, has seen many improvements and features for GNOME 3.12...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTY0MTg

  2. #2
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    What I still don't understand is why Gnome Software forces you to restart in order to install updates. Is that a limitation imposed by Gnome Software or by Fedora itself? Is there a way around having to restart?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarmad View Post
    What I still don't understand is why Gnome Software forces you to restart in order to install updates. Is that a limitation imposed by Gnome Software or by Fedora itself? Is there a way around having to restart?
    You can opt in to install the updates when you are restarting for other reasons (as opposed to restarting just for updates) or you can use the command line tools (yum or dnf) to install the updates online. If you do the latter, you can run into problems in the desktop where some software like Firefox acts all wonky and you do have to know what you are doing including using needs-restarting command and rebooting if you are updating the kernel or base tools and so on. If you do it the GNOME Software way, the updates are essentially installed in a very minimal environment provided by systemd explicitly for this purpose and its a lot more safer and without many corner cases for end users.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarmad View Post
    What I still don't understand is why Gnome Software forces you to restart in order to install updates. Is that a limitation imposed by Gnome Software or by Fedora itself? Is there a way around having to restart?
    For one example, Firefox can't be safely updated in-place while it's running. This is a problem across nearly every Linux distribution, since new versions of packages need to overwrite the old ones. It's solved by NixOS, but at the cost of completely breaking the FHS.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarmad View Post
    What I still don't understand is why Gnome Software forces you to restart in order to install updates. Is that a limitation imposed by Gnome Software or by Fedora itself?
    Gnome Software now requests an offline installation of updates because some software, such as Firefox, can not be safely or sanely updated in-place while the system is running.

    Firefox for example will typically deadlock, or simply crash, if you update /usr/bin/firefox while the browser is running. Some packages also CAN'T be updated online because they are pretty much always running. A brief list would be: the kernel, firmware package, systemd, X, mesa, and your desktop environment.

    Its impossible to test every other package to see if it updates 100% cleanly so who knows how many other "Firefox'es" there are out there that break during updates. As such its safer to simply request the user restart to finish installing updates to guarantee that everything IS installed and restarted cleanly and you don't have a mix-and-matched system.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarmad View Post
    Is there a way around having to restart?
    If you use "yum update" or "dnf update" then it doesn't matter and everythings just done in-place.

  6. #6
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    I am running Gentoo on a laptop. It get's restartet only once a month or even less. Since years I am doing updates of firefox while it is running and NEVER had it crash. Having to restart for an update is so windows-like.
    As you all mention firefox: it would be enough to put out a warning that the user should close any firefox window. Having to reboot will interrupt your work. It will prevent you from getting possible security fixes for firefox or thunderbird and leave you vulnerable until your work is done.
    Also for everything besieds the kernel it would be enough to logout and relogin. So something like "You will be logged out now to apply updates, your session will be restored" (Gnome can restore sessions, can't it?) would be a way better solution...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by schmalzler View Post
    I am running Gentoo on a laptop. It get's restartet only once a month or even less. Since years I am doing updates of firefox while it is running and NEVER had it crash. Having to restart for an update is so windows-like.
    As you all mention firefox: it would be enough to put out a warning that the user should close any firefox window. Having to reboot will interrupt your work. It will prevent you from getting possible security fixes for firefox or thunderbird and leave you vulnerable until your work is done.
    Also for everything besieds the kernel it would be enough to logout and relogin. So something like "You will be logged out now to apply updates, your session will be restored" (Gnome can restore sessions, can't it?) would be a way better solution...
    Like others said, offline updates are the way to go. Booting is fast with SSDs (about 5 seconds). It's like a real db with atomic transactions vs buggy corrupting mysql. Package manager needs to switch from a consistent state A to consistent state B - always. This is especially important with servers and that's why Fedora servers boot so often.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by schmalzler View Post
    I am running Gentoo on a laptop. It get's restartet only once a month or even less. Since years I am doing updates of firefox while it is running and NEVER had it crash. Having to restart for an update is so windows-like.
    As you all mention firefox: it would be enough to put out a warning that the user should close any firefox window. Having to reboot will interrupt your work. It will prevent you from getting possible security fixes for firefox or thunderbird and leave you vulnerable until your work is done.
    Also for everything besieds the kernel it would be enough to logout and relogin. So something like "You will be logged out now to apply updates, your session will be restored" (Gnome can restore sessions, can't it?) would be a way better solution...
    It's pretty rare for Firefox to exit cleanly when it was upgraded in-place externally. Perhaps you've noticed Firefox not exiting cleanly and never realized that this is why - I doubt that you haven't run into it.

    If a distribution wants to truly support safe in-place upgrades, it should really be doing what NixOS is doing. It installs new versions of packages without touching the old ones. Then, those packages can be safely garbage collected when the applications aren't running anymore and won't be screwed up by changing libraries/data/binaries they load dynamically, configuration files, etc.

  9. #9
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    Uh? Iíve been updating my Arch Linux and Xubuntu systems for years while still using them, without any problem. Especially not Firefox crashes.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by stqn View Post
    Especially not Firefox crashes.
    Unclean exits, not crashes.

    Quote Originally Posted by stqn View Post
    Uh? I’ve been updating my Arch Linux and Xubuntu systems for years while still using them, without any problem.
    After a kernel update, Arch Linux can't load kernel modules. Updating services while they're running will upgrade their configuration files in-place (at least if you haven't edited them), and that will break some. It will also wipe out the old data/libraries/binaries in /usr. Many programs dynamically start binaries (Chromium is a good example) rather than just forking, and many also dynamically load libraries or read data from /usr. It's not a very robust system to be updating in-place while the system is running. A good solution would be doing functional upgrades (leaving all the old versions intact) and then doing garbage collection of the old versions some time after the next reboot.

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