Feature request: dedicated update-manager


#1

Every now and then, the updating process under Manjaro requires some „special care“ in form of the strong recommendation to do the update in a terminal or on a tty or to include an automatic downgrade switch.

I know, it‘s not that often, but if it happens, quite some users get bitten. Yes, you may say Arch-based and rolling isn‘t easy street and that users should get acquainted to first read the announcement and then update and you will be mostly right. Alas, there is a gripe: Manjaro aims to be user friendly. And it does great things to be user friendly (it has unstable, testing and stable branches, it has really nice GUI package managers, it has a kernel manager, so many nice, user friendly things …). But if we are realistic, the tools available for updating tempt users to use them and in the forum we are constantly praying that a safe update goes over the terminal with sudo pacman -Syyu only that this time exactly this routine would extraordinarily have broken many systems, because sudo pacman -Syyuu would have been needed.

So while trying to keep the recent discussion on one of the recent stable updates productive (and not really succeeding in that) here is a suggestion that could be considered: to separate the general package install routines (Octopi, pamac) and the updating process and to implement an update manager.

White-paper for an update manager:

What it should do:

  1. Notify the user that a new update is available.

  2. Warn whether any special care is required to have a sane update. In principle this could just mean to throw the warnings of the forum announcement at the head of the user (whether he has an account or not).

  3. Present a shortcut or link to perform the update.

How it could be implemented (beware, I’m not a programmer):

a) through a dedicated RSS feed, or

b) similar to what the kernel manager already does

c) from scratch with notification access and indicator etc …

d) $insert smart suggestions from more capable folks

One idea may be to “automatically” implement for extra-ordinary update procedures may be to have a Manjaro-version package, that (i) counts up the version (e.g. by date 2019-01-25) and (ii) pulls in required dependencies and that (iii) notifies the update manager that a system update is available.

I think the manjaro-system package could be used or extended for this?

The main point would be to prevent the GUI package managers to indicate and perform system updates and to inform the user by other means that an update is available. I guess it would be OK to teach users to go in a terminal for updating procedures even if it feels less user-friendly. Or, the update-manager just presents a link to a script that then fires up a terminal and does the updating “magic” (incl. asking for the password).

What it is for:

Improve user-friendliness by avoiding hazardous update procedures.


[Stable Update] 2019-01-23 - Kernels, Mesa, Browsers, Nvidia, Deepin, VirtualBox
Simply unacceptable
SUGGESTION: Link forum update posts in pamac
Where to begin? With helping in development, that is
#2

I think this can be most easily addressed via a different update notifier (e.g. it opens the announcement thread when clicked).

Updates are available, click here for details, up comes the thread.

Whether the details are within an “update manager” window or on a web page the user has to read something, and removing all thinking from using your PC is not a goal of Manjaro. User-friendly != Idiot-proof.

Manjaro is suitable for beginners in the Linux world, and all that entails in a change of how you can use a computer. It’s not suitable for people who want Linux to behave like Windows, or as a “fire-and-forget” consumer OS.

Like how an Arduino is suitable for beginners to embedded systems development. You still have to use your brain but it’s hardly the complexity of an FPGA or ASIC.


#3

$64k question is can the forum handle all this traffic on “update days”?

People wanting to read an update thread but prevented by a tsunami of 502 gateway errors would generate as much OTT belly aching as a crashy upstream systemd release.


#4

maybe just add it to calamares so that when manjaro is being installed and new users are watching the installer progress they can read about “proper updating habits” and why they are important. as it is now IIRC its a loop of other info’s right? maybe also suggest a simple backup solution like timeshift. given the person actually reads, this would be beneficial in a few ways.

  • new user cant say “we’ll how was i suppose to know?”
  • cant say they had to re-install due to an update, especially not if they have a backup.
  • forum isnt flooded with repeat threads of the same issue, with the same cause being not knowing to check the announcements and/or not caring enough to do so.
    and these are people who use the forum, what about the fools turning to reddit for all things manjaro? i dont think manjaro has to coddle new users and make bright flashing warnings for each update but informing the new users in a loud and clear way from the get go would then keep the user responsible for the user’s actions. manjaro is definitely newbie friendly, but for the newbies that care enough about theyre own system to take 2 minutes and read. o

#5

I agree.

But the present situation is that pamac or Octopi notify about updates and allow to install them. Many people do then do the updates via pamac/octopi and I deny calling all of them idiots.

I don’t know how often people are again and again advised to prefer the terminal or tty method if they show up in the update announcement thread or other threads.

So a “sane” update mechanism (either one that does inform properly, or one that automates “extra” care if necessary) would certainly be good for users and helpful forum members alike.

Presently, Manjaro’s user-friendly possibilities to do updates are prone to then systemically bork up systems about once a year. Last time even I would have been bitten with my routine doing a sudo pacman Syyu in a tty (which is usually considered safe).

I would also prefer a method that would inform the user about the situation (and the best method to update) instead of doing everything for him in the background (THAT would be Windows style, incl. then borking up the system in the background :smiley: ) If it does something automatically, the user should get informed what is going on. IMHO this would be Linux-style and user friendly.

An update-manager (or update-notifier) would just be a next step of the way of Manjaro’s “focus on user-friendliness and accessibility, making it suitable for newcomers” [quote form actual homepage]. Wouldn’t it?


#6

I’d rather change the wording on the homepage (which, as I already explained, stands in contrast with reality) than having yet another update manager.

Your request is absolutely valid though. I suggest integrating it into one of the existing managers.


#7

I think we should standardize (especially in stable, testing and unstable can look after themselves), to one GUI package manager, then as @jonathon says get the update notifier to open the web page or display a message…

But it is strange that there are so many problems in stable updates, that I don’t see here running unstable :confused: I thought I would hit them first and report back to get them fixed before they hit stable.

All the major cluster fscks seem to hit stable users with no warning from up the chain… ???


#8

@b_quest :

As mentioned in another thread, this is how I’m doing my updates.

Perhaps this is helpful for you. I think this approach can prevent several potential pitfalls.


#9

Because unstable and stable are 2 different beast.
On unstable we have systemd 240 version that cause problem for some people…


#10

I wonder whether I have fewer issues because I use pacman instead of a GUI tool.

Thinking about it, pacman is already a near-perfect “update manager”, you just have to know how to use it.


#11

On the other hand, the normal pacman -Syu would have borked things up this update as well. It needed the user to read the announcement.


#12

In an ideal world where people knew what they were doing, if you ran -Syu and rebooted you’d see the issue. The you’d recognise that systemd was broken, realise, “oh, I had a newer systemd package then in the repos”, chroot in, and run -Syuu.

But then this isn’t a realistic expectation - you wouldn’t normally expect a downgrade to fix a package upgrade issue. :man_shrugging:

Anyhow, this is going OT.

A dedicated update manager would move Manjaro one step closer to the “fire-and-forget” OS that some users want. Whether that’s a good idea or not needs should be discussed in another thread (or this one needs to be moved out of #manjaro-development:feature-request).


#13

Doesn’t MX-Linux use a GUI-based notifier, but then drops into a terminal for the updates?

Really, it’s just GUI vs terminal for some of the updates. If Pamac could be flagged to switch over to a terminal for those sensitive updates…

Rolling distros are uniquely unique. I wouldn’t want to lose that, but if the software manager can be improved upon over time, that’s not a bad omen.

GM


#14

My experience was a good with a sudo pacman -Syuu on the recent large update.


#15

When I wrote update-notifier for gnome edition, I included

  • check for eol kernels
  • check for update announcements

However, I never enabled the support for update announcements, because there was no good way to know when the announcements were urgent. If it would notify about all announcements, then it would create “boy who cried wolf” effect. It should only notify if the update requires manual intervention.

If announcements for updates that require manual intervention were somehow tagged, then it would be easy to implement (and I have the code for it ready).

For more, see here: https://github.com/manjaro/release-plan/issues/144


#16

This is essentially the Arch news feed.

One of the original goals of Manjaro (e.g. via manjaro-system) was to try to avoid people needing to check for issues before every update and take care of the more trivial “manual intervention” steps.


#17

Exactly, I wish we had a similar dedicated channel for this.

I agree that ideally it should not be needed. But, we still 1) do update announcements 2) recommend people to read them before updating 3) sometimes updates require manual intervention.

I think that the advice to read announcements before updating is at odds with this. By comparison, there is much less required reading with arch news feed in my experience. If we recommend people to read the announcements before updating, then we should only announce the important stuff. And if we succeed perfectly in the goal of Manjaro, there should not be anything to announce.


#18

Thank you. Yes I know there are possibilities to minimize pitfalls. The “issue” is just that there are possibilities available (and even user-friendly ones :wink: ) to update otherwise.

I now have extended my strategy to do sudo pacman -Syyuu in a tty, whenever pamac calls for updates. But this is scratching my personal itch and I think that there might be a way to make Manjaro even more user friendly than it already is. SO MUCH has been achieved already by Manjaro, I find it amazing! An update-notifier or update-informer or whatnot that drops you to a terminal to update in the best way possible would just go one further step that would be perfectly in line with what Manjaro already HAS achieved.


#19

Could not agree more.


#20

pacman -Syyu is good for safe update without AUR packages

and I usually follow up with pamac updatefor AUR

but for the newer really good systemd packages I ran it in pamac gui just to see no problem there

now maybe the new solution with better control of version numbers will make it ok for anyone to update safer. But if having a working system is important, why not take a moment to look deeper and be certain everything is ok.

I prefer an ounce of prevention