Better Remote Upgrade Capabilities - Ideas?

Kevin Fries kfries at
Fri Sep 14 18:33:27 UTC 2007


You are right, but the problem is actually at the core of the DEB/APT
system.  It will not get fixed any time soon.  And for the record, RPM
is not any better, it suffers from the same problem.

The core of the issue stems from the fact that software exists in a
n-dimension matrix.  This matrix is being modeled by a flat file
structure.  This can not be done fully.  Now add the untold number of
changes done by the developers to make our users desktops more useful.
That model keeps changing, and the flat files are trying to keep up.
This is not easy, and one little mistake can show up in a multitude of
different ways.  Toss in the problems caused by third party repositories
(and any solution that is incompatible with third party repositories is
100% broke in my opinion) and the problem becomes unmanageable.  The
real answer would be a object oriented model, but that would break the
DEB/APT system, and cause ciaos on an untold number of fronts.

The easiest way around the problem is a fresh install.  The problem is
Debian (and thus Ubuntu) does not make this easy.  I feel that stealing
the reinstall procedures from Fedora could resolve this problem without
resorting to overhauling the APT system.  That is why I am seeking to
contribute in this way.

Kevin Fries

On Fri, 2007-09-14 at 18:09 +0100, Chris Warburton wrote: 
> I find that Debian is the most consistent through upgrades, if no
> strange customisations have been made then "apt-get dist-upgrade" can go
> from version to version no problem.
> Ubuntu introduces some issues with this that makes the update manager
> and metapackages like ubuntu-desktop needed. I have personally gone
> through quite a few reinstalls due to badly upgraded Ubuntus, but I
> stick with it due to the awful hardware in my laptop and the community
> (I feel like I can contribute to Ubuntu, whereas Debian is rather harder
> to be appreciated, especially for non-programmers)
> So whilst I'm not overly familiar with all of the issues involved in
> upgrading between releases, it is sensible to use the best tool for the
> job, and if Ubuntu's upgrade system doesn't fit your scenario nicely
> then Debian probably would, and they are not too dissimilar in terms of
> underlying technologies either.
> Hope that helps,
> Chris Warburton
> PS: This is not having a go at Ubuntu, or advertising Debian, I'm just
> saying that in this situation Debian might be a better choice than
> Ubuntu. Yay competition!

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