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Thread: Opensuse software updates wreck my system

  1. #1

    Default Opensuse software updates wreck my system

    Just wondering if I alone am experiencing this. I've now had 2 major failures on my Opensuse installation in a couple of months, following system updates. In both cases, system became unbootable and I had to recover from backups and / or use the Repair Installation option on the Install DVD.
    I've now turned software updates off.

    Anyone else suffered similarly ? Came within a whisker of installing XP on this system tonight, its got that bad !

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Opensuse software updates wreck my system

    On Thu, 27 Aug 2009 22:36:01 +0000, billingd wrote:

    > Just wondering if I alone am experiencing this. I've now had 2 major
    > failures on my Opensuse installation in a couple of months, following
    > system updates. In both cases, system became unbootable and I had to
    > recover from backups and / or use the Repair Installation option on the
    > Install DVD.
    > I've now turned software updates off.
    >
    > Anyone else suffered similarly ? Came within a whisker of installing XP
    > on this system tonight, its got that bad !


    I've got a couple systems here that updated fine - no problems at all.

    If you could provide some information about the system in question -
    hardware, configuration, version of openSUSE - someone might be able to
    get more specific as to what the issues might have been and how to avoid
    them.

    Jim



    --
    Jim Henderson
    openSUSE Forums Moderator

  3. #3
    goldie NNTP User

    Default Re: Opensuse software updates wreck my system

    > Anyone else suffered similarly ?

    yes, these fora document that many folks suffer catastrophic failure
    following the install of a new kernel....and, we have had two of those
    in the last several months..

    i believe _most_ (but not all) of the problems come when using one of
    the proprietary graphics drivers like from ATI or nVidia--are you
    using either?

    if so, there are several ways to avoid the failure:

    - use the GNU driver (and accept the inability to run 3D rotating
    cubes, etc)

    - recompile your proprietary driver using the new kernel's source, and
    install it prior to booting to the GUI

    - (i am NOT sure about this, but i believe) if you install the
    proprietary driver using YaST and the repositories [see:
    http://en.opensuse.org/Nvidia#The_repository_way] then when future
    kernels come in YaST (and openSUSE Updater) will automatically do all
    the dirty work for you (that is down load the new kernel source,
    compile and install the new driver)

    at least, that is what happens when i install a new kernel with
    openSUSE Updater, and i think i did the first install of the nVidia
    driver using the "hard way" (which is not the "easy (1-Click) way..

    perhaps someone who is sure, could set me straight if i've got it wrong..

    --
    goldie
    Note: Accuracy, completeness, legality, or usefulness of this posting
    may be illusive.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Opensuse software updates wreck my system

    Typically, if one has a problem from a kernel or xorg update, the fix is easy ... at least it is for average to advanced users. New users, having no idea what to do, typically struggle. The key thing for new users is (1) don't panic, and (2) have access to the internet via another source (dual boot or another PC) to get help. Kernel updates do NOT have to be installed. One can do so at their leisure, but typically new users do not know a kernel update from a star in the sky.

    More difficult is the breakage that can occur from repository proliferation, which can also cause such occurrences, and in those cases are much harder to detect and fix.

    What software package management repositories do you have? ie what is the output of:
    zypper lr -d
    I typically recommend ONLY OSS, Non-OSS, Update, Packman repositories, and no others (to be kept enabled). But many new users, excited by the prospect of a zillion repositories with a correponding number of applications, ignore that advice, and install something that was either poorly tested, or is incompatible with another app from another of the zillion repositories, that breaks their system.


    If you think it is a recent software update that borked your system, you could check to see what you installed. You can do that by:
    rpm -qa --last > rpmlist.txt

    and then use a text editor to open rpmlist.txt and check what were the last updates that you did.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Opensuse software updates wreck my system

    Thanks for your replies. My system is a HP Compaq nc6320 laptop. It has an Intel 945 GM graphic card. So hopefully that's avoiding any proprietary graphic driver issues ?

    I do seem to have a lot of software management repositories listed from oldcpu's zypper lr -d command. At least 20 I'd say are listed. Not quite zillions, but maybe it'll pay me to reduce the number as suggested ?

    Oldcpu's comments about new users are very relevant to me. As a new user I am still struggling to understand some of the advice in this excellent forum. I think Opensuse is great, but I have been a bit put off by some of the problems I've run in to - typically failure following system security and kernel updates.

    Thanks

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Opensuse software updates wreck my system

    Quote Originally Posted by billingd View Post
    I do seem to have a lot of software management repositories listed from oldcpu's zypper lr -d command. At least 20 I'd say are listed. Not quite zillions, but maybe it'll pay me to reduce the number as suggested ?
    As noted I recommend OSS, Non-OSS, Update, and Packman. To explain:
    • OSS - applications that are typically on the packaged DVD - these are typically tested by Novell and by the community
    • Non-OSS - typically applications that are not open source free software, but for one reason or another, Novell/SuSE-GmbH have decided to include these applications with openSUSE - these are typically tested by Novell and by the community
    • Update - these are official Novell/SuSE-GmbH updates to OSS and Non-OSS - usually security updates, although if there is a really serious bug, one may also see bug fixes - test are typically tested in house in Novell/SuSE-GmbH
    • Packman - this is a 3rd party repository put together by a group of volunteers, and contains lots of multimedia, some utilities, games and other neat 3rd party packages. The testing is limited but I believe there are non-enforced guidelines that the Packman packagers follow, which means the Packman repositories tend to have a higher quality than most of the other repositories

    Now the remaining repositories are not official updates. Their applications may or may not have been built against OSS/Non-OSS/Update, and they may introduce applications that will cause breakage in either existing or other repositories. And typically they have mininal to absolutely no testing.

    Why risk that breakage? IMHO in general terms it simply not worth it, ... and one must have a very specific reason before updating from another repos.

    Now on occasion I have briefly added Mozilla repos to get the latest firefox (and disable Mozilla after the firefox install). And on occasion my firefox has been broken. So I typically roll back to the OSS version of firefox. This is an isolated case, so its easy to address. I don't have a zillion repos clouding the issue.

    The same is true for "wine". On occasion I have briefly added wine repos to get the latest wine (and disabled wine repos after the wine update). And on occasion my wine has been broken. So I typically roll back to the OSS version of wine. Again, this is an isolated case, so its easy to address. I don't have a zillion repos clouding the issue.

    But multiply that by 20 extra repos, and this is havoc. It makes no sense to me that someone would want to inflict that on them selves.

    Having typed that, don't get me wrong on this. I am in favour of the massive repository proliferation we are seeing, as it is making available a host of applications that were not packaged before for openSUSE. Its also making available cutting edge versions of applications that were not packaged for openSUSE before (not until the next release). But don't over look the down side. Caution is the operative word, and so many New Users THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND and add 20+ repositories. Thats begging for trouble, and trouble they get.

    ... < and I get frustrated because its hard to help them ... >

    New users IMHO really need to learn to add what they need for a repos when they need it, and immediately remove the repos after their install is done (back to the basic 4 I recommend: OSS, Non-OSS, Update, Packman).


    Quote Originally Posted by billingd View Post
    ... but I have been a bit put off by some of the problems I've run in to - typically failure following system security and kernel updates.
    Kernel updates are a pain. Its a major linux PITA, and impacts not only openSUSE but every Linux distribution. Its a design implementation in Linux with major side effects, and not every distribution handles the side affects well.

    But one thing about kernel updates, is the solutions are known and can be easily addressed. Typically only boot config files or drivers are impacted. Boot config files can be easily fixed as the knowledge to do so is common. With caution, the problems can be predicted in advance, and corrected in advance (before the reboot after a kernel update).

    Drivers for a new kernel can be preopositioned before accepting a kernel update, so that their re-install or rebuild is easy to do.

    So in general, its relatively easy to recover from kernel updates. Its only a temporary PITA.

    But adding 20+ repositories is a receipe for forcing a complete re-install, and in the case of New Users almost a guaranteed receipe for pushing them back to Windoze. The simple answer is DON'T DO IT !! Stick with the 4 repos I mentioned. ....

  7. #7
    jnevans NNTP User

    Default Re: Opensuse software updates wreck my system

    The only issue I had with "breakage" after a kernel upgrade was the need to recompile/install the Nvidida driver module after an upgrade. I was already aware of this and was able to easily fix it. It works but it's PITA.

    It would go a long way, especially to capture newbies and keep them around, if openSUSE team could come up with a GUI app included by default to allow users to select a particular version of video (Nvidia or ATI) driver. The app would allow them to install then take care of including the driver inside the script to automatically recompile/install after future kernel upgrades. (a la Ubuntu method)

    This way, a kernel upgrade won't break Xorg at the next reboot and force a manual recompilation/installation of the video driver.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Opensuse software updates wreck my system

    > perhaps someone who is sure, could set me straight if i've got it wrong..

    Well, I update constantly.
    I use the proprietary nVidia driver installed via YaST.
    I stick to only default repos + packman + KDE
    I've never had an update hose my system.

    Now, I have had updates fail due to dependency issues, but
    if I wait a week or so and try again the dependency is usually
    cleared up. Sometimes the KDE stuff gets out of whack but it's
    nothing to doom me to not booting or leaving me at a shell.

    Take special care if you are using One Clicks, Your repo list can become
    quite long, and your system quite broken. Personally I wouldn't use one
    clicks, but that's my opinion based on my experiences with it.






  9. #9
    goldie NNTP User

    Default Re: Opensuse software updates wreck my system

    > I've never had an update hose my system.

    me either..



    > if I wait a week or so and try again the dependency is usually
    > cleared up.


    my experience also


    > Take special care if you are using One Clicks,


    i used it twice: the first time i learned that the name is a lie...it
    is a LOT more than one click..

    used it the second time to *count* the clicks...forgot how many there
    were but it was about a dozen, or so..

    YaST or Zypper is a LOT easier!

    personally, i think the "time for one click" has come *and* GONE!


    --
    goldie
    Give a hacker a fish and you feed him for a day.
    Teach YaST/Aypper and you feed him for a lifetime.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Opensuse software updates wreck my system

    I've been using OpenSUSE for a few years, and had in one of machine activated automatic updates, and guess what. +2years without a single issue
    Of course i only have the essential repo's like oldcpu suggests: OSS, Non-OSS, Update, and Packman...
    AMD64 Powered by

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