A couple of rants about Launchpad
cjwatson at ubuntu.com
Mon Mar 9 16:48:17 GMT 2009
On Mon, Mar 09, 2009 at 08:21:45AM +0800, Christopher Chan wrote:
> Derek Broughton wrote:
> > Now, I tend to agree that tools that are unsupported shouldn't be included
> > (ie, apt-get - aptitude is NOT installed by default), but the proper
> > upgrade tools work in almost all cases. Of course, they'll never eliminate
> > all the edge conditions...
> Great. apt-get not supported?
Be careful not to confuse "somebody told me this on a mailing list" with
"one true answer". (aptitude actually will be installed by default in
9.04, because it's needed to support manual package selection in the
installer.) The actual answer is a bit more subtle than one or other
method being supported or not. Of course, the subtleties often get lost
in Chinese whispers ...
We strongly recommend update-manager over other upgrade methods because
update-manager allows us to insert workarounds for complex upgrade
situations that in some cases just have no way to be expressed in the
packages themselves (cf. the nfs-common problem that Debian had to
release-note for Lenny; there was no way to do this correctly in the
package, but "if nfs-common is installed, then upgrade it first" can be
encoded into something like update-manager which was envisioned as
executable release notes). As such, there are situations where if
somebody files a bug saying "this upgrade doesn't work cleanly with
apt-get [or aptitude]", we're eventually going to have to close the bug
and say "sorry, we weren't able to make this work; you'll have to use
update-manager instead". Furthermore, update-manager lets us fix
problems after release, because its "executable release notes" component
is downloaded on the fly from the archive.
However, that's not the same as saying that an upgrade method is totally
unsupported. In practice, the majority of problems people report with
upgrades using apt-get or aptitude are in fact bugs in individual
packages, and it's far simpler to fix them there than to fix them in
individual packages. Developers should not be closing upgrade bugs
simply because the upgrade was performed using apt rather than using
update-manager (and if they do, feel free to refer them to me!), only
because it's not actually possible or sane to fix the problem for users
People who use apt rather than update-manager usually have more
experience anyway and are better-placed to deal with problems. The main
reason to recommend that they use update-manager is simply because that
means that we are more likely to get upgrade bug reports from
knowledgeable users who stand a better chance of helping us fix them!
But, if you want to use apt-get or aptitude, and if you're comfortable
with encountering the odd glitch, feel free. I use apt-get or
update-manager myself depending on what mood I'm in.
> Now that means if I have a hundred desktops to look after, I am going
> to have to go round to each one, login and then start the upgrade
> process. Even if the upgrade process is flawless, this means any huge
> rollout will be a major pain in the neck to maintain.
Note that update-manager has a command-line frontend, which can be used
for server upgrades but it should work fine on desktops too.
> Why are great tools like aptitude thrown out in the name of user-friendly?
Fortunately, this is not in fact what happens.
Colin Watson [cjwatson at ubuntu.com]
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