Question About Rolling Upgrades

Discussion in 'General Linux' started by dfgrbac, May 19, 2014.

  1. dfgrbac

    dfgrbac New Member

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    I am not new to Linux; I have been using it since Slackware started distribution via floppy disk downloads, and I love Linux more than ever. And my career was as an analyst/programmer for engineering supercomputers. So the responses to these comments should be interesting.

    By now I would expect a Linux distribution that would be extremely easy for even a non-computer person to use and upgrade to be available. Sadly, I have not found that to be the case. Although the initial installs for the various distributions go well, keeping the system up to date - not so well. I used to dig into the systems, but I don't think I should have to do that anymore, and the average user does not want to I am sure.

    Rolling upgrades sounded good when I first saw them, but for me they have not worked well. At first, the system works fine and impressively. Adding new applications works fine at first also. But if the user tries to keep the system current by applying the upgrades periodically, eventually applications start to break - one by one. My mainframe experience tells me that it is the upgraded libraries that are causing problems; this has always been a big problem for our mainframes, so we always left the old libraries there for applications that continued to use them although the new libraries claimed to be compatible. There has to be an answer for this dependency problem!

    So my question is, does anyone know of a rolling upgrade distribution that actually continues to function fully as upgrades are applied?

     
  2. arochester

    arochester Super Moderator Staff Member

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    For me the short answer to your question is no.

    A good guy, who I met on Kubuntu Forums, is Don Boyd aka dibl. Over the years he has run Sidux, Aptosid and Siduction. He has managed to keep his system running for 4 years (?) without breakage.

    Don is a Global Moderator on the Siduction Forum. Look at e.g.
    "Benefits of siduction from DE forum -- About Stability" He also regularly contributes to Debian Users Forums. He's on Google+

    I *think* that the Siduction people will say on occasion "Don't update just now, it will break your system..."

    Wikipedia says that there are several different types of Rolling Releases http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_release
    The general advice seems to be "If you know how to deal with breakages, you can use it - if you don't know how to deal with breakages, don't use it. "
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  3. dfgrbac

    dfgrbac New Member

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    That's sad. I really hate saying this -really hate - but way can't someone do this in Linux when "Windows" does their upgrades smoothly?

    I can't do this with all applications, but I do it with Firefox smoothly with no problem. I install Firefox in my home directory for use rather than use the system version. Not only does Firefox upgrade smoothly just as it does in Windows, but since my home directory is on a separate partition it is ready to go when I upgrade Linux. And it does not have root access there which helps security.

    It would be great if other applications would adopt this methodology, at least for single-user systems.
     
  4. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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    I have had very good experiences with Arch. My record was 3 years without reinstalling.
     
  5. dfgrbac

    dfgrbac New Member

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    That is interesting. Thanks.
     
  6. GrumpyOldMan

    GrumpyOldMan Active Member

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    Windows upgrades (i.e. from XP to 7), from limited personal experience, are rarely smooth, and usually painful. Windows updates are different, and still occasionally result in breakage.

    If you want to compare updates to updates, I can't recall Ubuntu breaking for me; their package management is pretty good. I've only had one failure when doing an upgrade (from, say 10-04 to 12-something).

    Again, this is from my personal experience. Yours may be different.
     
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  7. dfgrbac

    dfgrbac New Member

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    Sorry, I really meant seamless updates. I don't use windows very often, but the updates seem to work smoothly, as well as application updates.

    But for any "installed" system that uses an update system to keep it current, all installed applications should continue to work. For upgrades, yes - new installs are necessary.
     
  8. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

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    I've never seen Manjaro break after updates, its developers favour stability over bleeding-edge software.

    Slack-current (a script that makes Slackware roll) is probably stabler, since Slackware maintainers are extremely careful. I bet it never breaks.

    It's not true that windows updates don't often make systems break. Most likely, there are nearly millions of complaints about this matter on forums/tech websites worldwide (counting those by people who didn't even know they experienced updating issues, and not only because many of them leave auto-updating on).
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2014
  9. MikeyD

    MikeyD Active Member

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    Maybe I've been lucky, but I haven't had a problem with rolling upgrades/updates in any of my distros. Similar to @ryanvade I've been running Arch on a small Asus netbook for 3-4 years without having any breakages and Fedora on an Acer ultrabook for about 1 year now with no breakage. Arch is surprising as for a bleeding-edge distro I always assume there will be issues, especially if I've been lazy and haven't updated in a couple months. Just on this forum though I've seen many people hit errors in Arch upgrades so I wouldn't consider it a "stable" release cycle.

    I believe the distros with slower release cycles may offer more stability between upgrades at the cost of not necessarily getting the "latest and greatest" release right when it become available. I've never had an issue with Centos, although I guess that is considered more of a "server" distro, but distros with slower release cycles like Centos generally allow extra time for bug-fixes and cross-hardware stability, but again at the cost of longer waits for new versions
     
  10. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

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    Pretty true, @MikeyD. Arch is very reliable, specially if you use open source drivers.

    After I decided that Catalyst for Linux comes from hell (incredibly buggy multi-head support in spite of better performance), I loaded FOSS drivers for all possible devices. No more issues so far.

    Since Manjaro is Arch-based and its "equivalent" updates take longer to be released, it tends to be more stable than Arch itself, but security is a bit compromised. MUCH safer than windows anyway. Windows security sucks dinosaur ass.
     
  11. dfgrbac

    dfgrbac New Member

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    Don't take me wrong, the rolling updates work fine for the base systems. It's the applications that start failing after a several updates. I like 3-D games for instance, and when updates are available for the systems, many of these applications do not get updates. They seem to take the hits first and begin failing. I promised myself that I would never update my system until the next major release, but after installing everything I want on my "new" system, I start to think - well maybe they have this rolling update thing fixed by now, and I keep updating with hope. Sure enough, eventually things start breaking. On my latest PCLinuxOS system, even some KDE features stopped working suddenly.
     
  12. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

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    Odd... I never had problems like that. I only experienced driver breakage after upgrades, back when I didn't use FOSS versions.

    I use Gnome, XFCE and LXDE though.

    How many rolling distros have you actually tried out? Maybe you need a new one...
     
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  13. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

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    A big point was kind of not argued clearly: Windows is not a rolling operating system.

    You could simply use a non-rolling Linux distribution: you'll still get updates for that given version until it's discontinued, just like windows. And it would be as stable as you want.
     
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  14. dfgrbac

    dfgrbac New Member

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    Hi again Linux fans.

    I want to update my comments on this issue. After this original discussion took place, I decided to try switching to the Mageia rolling distribution. Wow! I am glad I did. I have had no problems keeping this distribution, my applications, and the upgrades running smoothly. Mageia is a fine OS. None of my applications have ever failed since using this system. All upgrades have gone without a hitch. Not only that, but Mageia was advanced to a new version this year for which I was notified by a Icon. By clicking and following instructions, the system easily and smoothly upgraded to the new version.

    I have to say I am impressed. Now the new Mageia is signaling its rolling upgrades, and I have done several with no problem.

    I am happy to report the good news!
     
  15. MadmanRB

    MadmanRB New Member

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    Mageia cauldron? Yeah thats not too shabby.
    Give openSUSE tumbleweed a try as well
     
  16. Darren Hale

    Darren Hale Active Member

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    I like the Rolling model my distro of choice LINUXBBQ uses Sid as a base and only real issue was removal of libreoffice for a while during GCC5 transition. This was fixed by installing the version from Libreoffice site. As mentioned siduction warns when there are breakages so - so don't upgrade during that time. LinuxBBQ also uses their repos as well.
     
  17. MadmanRB

    MadmanRB New Member

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    Debian Sid is a little too unreliable for my tastes, I rather use testing or Manjaro
     

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