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Thread: Ending the upgrade madness?

  1. #1
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    Red face Ending the upgrade madness?

    I am running 10.3, watching the hype around 11.0 with interest, whilst probably 90% of my key apps are ahead of what is available in 11.0 right now, and configured to my liking, working reliably. Why should I throw what I have away, risk new unreliability, and spend several weeks and considerable net bandwidth to get 11.0 to an acceptable reliability after a fresh install?

    My point is, why does linux follow a commercial model, with the hype around version releases, whilst each release introduces dependency hell if not done from fresh, requires fresh installs to be reliable, loses app configurations and even apps entirely, unless your apps are on the release iso or in a "compatible" repository?

    Why can't we have rolling releases, incremental but full system updates instead of upgrades? Is versioning of necessity, or habit, or do the distros out there rely on the hype around new releases to gain mind space in user-land? Zypper running 10x faster is not that important to me. Configuration reliability, user interface consistency and data continuity is important.

    OK, glad I got that off my chest! I will install 11.0 at some point, but not until I am convinced and an upgrade over existing is futile (or have lots of spare time - yet again). Keep posting about your experiences folks....

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ending the upgrade madness?

    I see this question asked all the time.... indeed there can be some fascinating flame wars rip wide open as a result.

    Having said that, my view has always been that an update is up to an individual user. Many users get very excited about a new release. Why rain on their parade?

    Before I became a moderator, I never would update until a couple of months (or longer) after a new release, to let the bugs get shaken out. Then when I became a moderator, I found so many users had problems specific to their new openSUSE release (which were easily solvable by anyone with the same openSUSE release) that in order to provide help, I pretty much had to upgrade immediately with a few days of the new release.

    Then I started contributing more in writing bug reports, but found to get the best reception to my bug reports, they were best written on the alpha and beta releases. So I started installing those, which means updating BEFORE the release. ... And once I was knowledgeable enough with the alpha and beta releases, it was a simple matter (with nothing lost, and definitely NO MADNESS) to upgrade to the latest versions immediately after they came out.

    Now other users may simply NEED a feature that is in the new release, and are not blessed with the knowledge of users like yourself, who can add libraries and applications in advance of the current openSUSE release. For them, a review of a URL such as this:
    Testing:Features 11.0 - openSUSE
    gives them a good guide as to what they need.

    So while I completely agree with you that one should not blindly update, I also do not think updating is always madness. .... I think calling it madness in many cases is simply raining on someone else's parade (as my wife tends to say to me, when I'm in a grumpy mood, and I often rain on the parade of others).

    Thanks for participating in our SoapBox area. There can be some really fun discussions here.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ending the upgrade madness?

    Quote Originally Posted by watagan View Post
    Why can't we have rolling releases, incremental but full system updates instead of upgrades?
    I recall reading various posts debating the pros and cons of this ... I wish I could find them. There are IMHO good points on both sides of this question.... Its not all cut and dry.

    Quote Originally Posted by watagan View Post
    Zypper running 10x faster is not that important to me.
    ...For users with old 866MHZ PCs and 256MB of RAM, this fast zypper is a real blessing .... and I say that as a die hard smart package manager user.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ending the upgrade madness?

    You don't have to upgrade everytime there's a new release out. For me, I usually skip one release as I like to use my OS a bit longer and not jump up whenever there's a new release. I'm currently using 10.2 (skipped 10.3) and now I'm going to upgrade my machines to 11.0 in a few days. One of the beauty of openSUSE is that it provides bugfixes and security updates for two years, so one can use his version longer than most other distro's

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ending the upgrade madness?

    On Thu, 2008-06-19 at 13:46 +0000, watagan wrote:
    > I am running 10.3, watching the hype around 11.0 with interest, whilst
    > probably 90% of my key apps are ahead of what is available in 11.0
    > right now, and configured to my liking, working reliably. Why should I
    > throw what I have away, risk new unreliability, and spend several weeks
    > and considerable net bandwidth to get 11.0 to an acceptable reliability
    > after a fresh install?


    Couple of reasons really. 1. openSUSE is NOT a long term support OS, so
    eventually you will no longer be able to get update/patches. Eventually
    means about 2 years. 2. software for GNU/Linux versions at a furious
    pace making a dependency problem for folks who stay behind.

    >
    > My point is, why does linux follow a commercial model, with the hype
    > around version releases, whilst each release introduces dependency hell
    > if not done from fresh, requires fresh installs to be reliable, loses
    > app configurations and even apps entirely, unless your apps are on the
    > release iso or in a "compatible" repository?


    This is why Novell SLED/SLES exist. The pain of maintaining a long
    term supported platform is placed upon the shoulders of Novell. No,
    you won't be able to get the very latest version of <insert software
    package here>, especially if the dependencies are hideous.

    >
    > Why can't we have rolling releases, incremental but full system updates
    > instead of upgrades? Is versioning of necessity, or habit, or do the
    > distros out there rely on the hype around new releases to gain mind
    > space in user-land? Zypper running 10x faster is not that important to
    > me. Configuration reliability, user interface consistency and data
    > continuity is important.


    With openSUSE you sort of have this. You can use community repositories
    to manage your openSUSE, turning it away from 10.3 (for example) and
    into something "unknown". The issue is that a 10.3 managed this
    way may actually be ahead of an 11.0 in certain places.... and there
    will be normal "upgrade" issues (taboo'd packages, etc).

    >
    > OK, glad I got that off my chest! I will install 11.0 at some point,
    > but not until I am convinced and an upgrade over existing is futile (or
    > have lots of spare time - yet again). Keep posting about your
    > experiences folks....


    I've upgraded many times... sometimes even going from one major
    number to the next... I think I did an 8.2 to 9.3... and it
    worked just fine. So it depends on your config and how "custom"
    you've made things.



  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ending the upgrade madness?

    Thanks for the thoughtful responses.

    Many users get very excited about a new release. Why rain on their parade?

    Good point. Likewise I don't want to spoil my own "parade" either, and in this regard it seems to me that upgrading and re-configuring can be both fun and a curse, depending on the enjoyment one derives from tinkering with an OS. I guess what concerns me is the degree to which frequent upgrades, with significant changes under the hood, works against the very valuable "selling point" of end user customisation, or more to the point, end use customisation. We can make the call as to how often we upgrade, and this will depend on whether we see it as a challenge, or fun, or a pain. Depends on the end use. I can live with that.

    openSUSE is NOT a long term support OS, so
    eventually you will no longer be able to get update/patches. Eventually
    means about 2 years.


    Another good point, allowing some flexibility as to when to upgrade the base OS. Seems to me that at least a couple of years support as critical to the open source model. A similar example is the SLED service pack approach, allowing those who rely on apps rather than operating systems (for a livelihood?) some peace of mind over a reasonable period of time.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ending the upgrade madness?

    @watagan
    I think your points are good and that you are wise to stick with10.3 while there is another year of support for it, if that makes you feel secure. I used to stick a long time, like oldcpu, when I was less confident than I am now. Now I have backup protocols that work while I sleep and often do outrageous things to my installation while I'm awake, sure in the knowledge that I've got images and tar files galore to paint it all back again when I wreck something.

    It's a case of "different horses run different courses"
    Leap 42.3 & 15.1(Beta) &KDE
    FYIs from the days of yore

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ending the upgrade madness?

    Watagan
    On my main puter, I was running 10.2 64 bit.
    When 10.3 came out. I didn't install it.
    I was happy with 10.2...I had everything tweaked and desktop effects was working. So I left it be. And it is still running good.
    But now that 11.0 has come out I will do a fresh install of that.
    My thought at the time was....If it's not broke why change or fix it.

    I did install 10.3 on both my laptops though.
    And I have a beater puter I try different distro's just to see how they run.
    Inquiring minds want to know?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ending the upgrade madness?

    These days I take the "if it isn't broke then don't fix it" approach. Like the OP, the apps I really like/need I will keep updated - sometimes to the extent of CVS/SVN source compiles. In the main, I can fix my mistakes or I find what I need via the forum or google.

    I'm not into lots of eye-candy, but stability and reliability are important to me.

    So if my system is running smoothly and reliably (like it is now), I am slower to update. I don't necessarily upgrade with every release

    I run /home as a partition on a separate hard drive which makes the update process much easier in my opinion. I keep track of a few key /etc/config files which I can copy over to a clean install.

    Paul

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Ending the upgrade madness?

    Quote Originally Posted by watagan View Post
    Why can't we have rolling releases, incremental but full system updates instead of upgrades? Is versioning of necessity, or habit, or do the distros out there rely on the hype around new releases to gain mind space in user-land? Zypper running 10x faster is not that important to me. Configuration reliability, user interface consistency and data continuity is important.
    Distributions with rolling releases, versus distros with static releases, offer two very different support models. At this point in time, it is fairly difficult to commit to a level of support for environments that have interchangeable components, since the vectors for problems and errors increases exponentially.

    If knetworkmanager stops working with your wireless card, it becomes an issue of which version of knetworkmanager are you using, which version of networkmanager are you using, what kernel version are you using, what version of dbus and hal are you using, etc. Of course, I'm simplifying things, but this in a nutshell is the conundrum devs face. Having a static "snapshot" gives them a baseline to use for diagnosing.

    Having said all that, the openSUSE build service does offer the best of both worlds. If you are still on 10.3 and want to try the newer zypper, it's available. Want the latest KDE 4? It's available. Want the latest KDE 4.1 snapshots? They're available. Want the latest kernel? It's available. Want to try the latest version of HAL? It's available. Want access to newer versions of kernel drivers for things like webcams? They're available.

    The drawback is that these upgrades won't be "officially" supported, in the sense that you can't post a bug to bugzilla with a reasonable expectation of a fix. Having said that, the devs maintaining these projects take considerable pride in their work, and will often strive to address your issues, even though they are not "officially" obligated to. Basically the build-service provides easy access to many of those cool components you see in newer versions, but don't want to have to do a full upgrade for.

    openSUSE is playdough. You can mold it into whatever you want it to be. That's a good thing(tm).

    Cheers,
    KV2

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