How does the automatic update process work?

In asking this I am interested in the TOTAL process - not just what happens on my OpenSuSE installation when it boots up. Let me illustrate by example: a fairly important application for me is Pidgin. Version 2.4.1 comes as part of the 11.0 release of OpenSuSE. However I notice that the latest version, available at, is version 2.4.3. I have automatic updates turned on (I think), but I never see Pidgin being updated, even though a lot of other applications on my system are, every day.

What is it that initiates the update of a particular application or package?

If I update (say, Pidgin) manually (assuming that I have the skills to do so) prior to an automatic update, do I lose any ‘rights’ to ask for help on this forum? Or is it an irrelevant question anyway, because I have no rights as such - I only have support ‘favours’ through this forum, which might or might not be granted for any and all versions of an application or package?

First things first: there are no rights to ask questions. No matter what the question, if you have a question about software, hardware, networking or anything else that has to do with OpenSUSE, feel free to ask it. The only dumb question is a question unasked. And just for the record, this is actually a pretty interesting question. To so sum it up, if you have a question, feel free to post it, and someone will be happy to help you out the best they can. :slight_smile:

Okay, on the topic of your update question, I believe the process works like this: you add a repository, in your case, the update repository, and software is added to this repository (which is basically just a server with software on it). When the repositories are refreshed on your OpenSUSE system, if a newer version of software is that is installed on your system is available from the repository, then YaST will ask you if you want to update the software. The thing is that the default OpenSUSE 11.0 repository doesn’t have the 2.4.3 version of Pidgin available, so if won’t prompt you to install it. I searched through the software search (Search for OpenSUSE software) and found the 2.4.3 version of Pidgin, but from the Gnome Community repository. The URL for the repo (repository) can be found below. Simply click the link below, and it will open up the page for the repository: copy the URL and add it to your repositories in YaST…

Index of /repositories/GNOME:/Community/openSUSE_11.0

If you are unsure of how to add a repository, do the following:

  1. Open YaST
  2. Enter the root password
  3. Click “Software Repository” under the “Software” heading
  4. Wait for the repositories to refresh
  5. Click the “Add” button
  6. Select “Specify URL…” and then click the “Next” button
  7. Enter the URL in the URL field
  8. Name the repository; Use something that will allow you to easily know what it is
  9. Click the “Next” button
  10. Close the YaST Repository window
  11. If you are prompted to Import any keys, do so

If you want to update Pidgin right now, simply do the following:

  1. Open YaST
  2. Enter the root password
  3. Click “Software Management” under the “Software” heading
  4. Wait until the repositories refresh
  5. Click the “Upgrades” tab across the top
  6. When this list opens, enter “pidgin” into the search field on the top left
  7. Select the Pidgin package
  8. Press “Update” (may also be called “Upgrade”) button in the bottom-right
  9. Click the “Apply” button
  10. Wait for the software to install
  11. Once it finishes, decline to add more software

If you don’t update it, the next time the updater applet searches for updates, it will find the new version of Pidgin and then ask you to update it.

If you want to know how to change when Gnome searches for updates, do the following:

  1. Open the menu on the bottom-left
  2. Select “Control Panel” from the right panel (top)
  3. Click the “Software Updates” under the “System” tag
  4. Change the “Check for updates:” dropdown and select a time
  5. Click “Close” when you are finished

One last thing: you may already know this, but in case you are unsure of how to open YaST, there are two methods to doing that. The first method is to open the Gnome menu in the bottom-left, and click the “More Applications…” button. When the window appears, enter “yast” into the search field and click the “YaST” link. If you want to skip the applications window, then you can simply open the Gnome menu again, and then drag the icon for YaST into either the “Favorites” section of menu or on the right column under the blue title “System.” That way, you can just click this link, and it will open YaST. The other method is through the terminal. To do this, open a terminal window and enter the command “su” (without quotes) and then enter your root password when prompted. This will login you in as a SuperUser, and thus gives your root permissions. After that, enter the command “yast2” (again, without quotes). Both those methods will open YaST2.

That should be the basics you need to know about updating. :stuck_out_tongue:

If you have anymore questions, I’ll be happy to help.

Hope this helps! :slight_smile:

Magnificent! This is a model response to a neophyte question. Can we have it published in a style manual or some such, please?

Firstly, and most importantly, it judges accurately my ability to understand the advice I am being given and my knowledge and skill to apply it (limited on all counts, in my case). If there is one topic in the Linux world that I could wine about to Olympic Gold standard it is the general mismatch between the documentation and the needs/abilities/limitations of the audience. There does not seem to be a robust process for identifying the intended or target audience in the overwhelming majority of the guides, of any form. As a result most of them are of no use to me.

Secondly, this advice actually works on my system! This rarely happens - 98% of the time because I have screwed something up that the ‘advisee’ assumes and depends on as being in a different state.

Thirdly it addresses a number of ancillary questions which I thought were just too dumb to ask - like where to get the name of a repository when manually adding one in YaST (I had no idea that this is a free form user entry field).

Now I would like to seek clarification on one point. You said:

Sadly I find that as soon as I click on the YaST icon to drag it to the ‘System’ area of the Gnome menu, that menu closes immediately, even if the 2 windows are not overlaping. Fortunately there is already a YaST icon in the System area of the Gnome menu on my system (how did I do that I wonder?) - but the principle is still useful. For example, I would like to drag an icon for a Gnome Terminal here. How do I keep the Gnome menu window open?

Thank you! I’m really glad it was a help to you! :slight_smile:

By the way: feel free to ask any question you have, Ill be happy to help the best I can. Everyone started out from the basics, even the most experienced users, so don’t feel that a question is too simple or basic to ask. Okay, so about the gragging and dropping of icons: when you drag the icon from the application list to the system column, the system column should have a thin black box around it (that is, in the Gnome main menu) and your cursor may have a plus sign next to it. Once the black line surrounds the system column, release the icon and it should be added to the list. Now, to re-arrange it’s order, click and hold the icon and move it up or down the column, releasing it where you want it. A thin back line will act a place holder showing where the icon would be if it were dropped.

Once again, thank you for your compliment. I really appreciate that. :slight_smile:

Hope that helps! :slight_smile:

Just to add to Unseen-Ghost’s excellent step-by-step, there is a one-click option when searching the software repos using that can help simplify things.

If a package is found, there should be a one-click install icon beside it in the results, which will automatically add the appropriate repo to Yast and install the app. Will require an admin authentication though.

Having said that, I don’t use Gnome, only KDE, so I see it in Konqueror and it works well. I’m assuming it will work in Firefox et al., as well.

Just my 2c…


Sorry about this, but I’m not getting it. Here’s what happens:

  1. Click on ‘Computer’ tab in bottom panel. Blue bordered menu opens with Apps. Docs. Places & System area.
  2. Click on ‘More Applications’ button
  3. Menu that opened in step 1 disapears and is replaced by the ordered list of applications
  4. Find an app. (e.g. Gnome Terminal) as a first step towards a ‘dragon-dropping’ operation
  5. Click a second time on the ‘Computer’ tab in bottom panel. Menu opens as before
  6. Click on selected app. in App. list. System menu closes immediately - there is nowhere to drag app. to.

Where did I go wrong?

Okay, I see what happened.

That was my fault, I gave the wrong steps to add the application to the menu.

Try these steps instead:

  1. Open the Main menu at the bottom-left
  2. Open the “More Applications…” button
  3. Find your application you want to add
  4. Right click on the application and select “Add to Favorites”
  5. Open the Main menu back up
  6. Drag the application from the favorites to the system bar
  7. You should see a thin, black box appear around the “System” column
  8. A plus sign will also appear over your cursor as well
  9. Drop the application into the “System” column
  10. Now, click and hold the application just dropped, and move it to the order you want

Hope that works for you. :slight_smile:

Yes, that’s worked, eactly as you say. Sorry to be so dumb as to not be able to figure this out for myself.

The real learning is in the ‘doing’. It can be more of a challenge to explain it to others who are not yet familiar with the steps required. Hopefully, you’ll be able to help guide others with your new found knowledge. :slight_smile:

Awesome! Glad that worked for you. :slight_smile:

And like Deano said, it’s a matter of learning through experience.

The more that you work with and test, especially. and probably the most important, the basics.

If you have anymore questions, don’t hesitate to ask. :slight_smile: