Pre-upgrade warnings and advice?

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at
Fri Jun 6 13:46:46 UTC 2014

Hash: SHA1

Neal McBurnett wrote on 02/06/14 20:49:
> ...
> Is there anything in the official upgrade tools to remind users 
> about use of ppas, non-repo packages, unofficial desktops or other 
> potentially problematic bits of software like unofficial programs 
> which "tweak" UI settings and the like?
> I recall some warning about some such packages at upgrade time,
> but I forget when it happens, what it includes, and what advice it 
> gives.

The alert appears after the release notes, and before the new packages
are downloaded. It has primary text "Third party sources disabled",
and secondary text "Some third party entries in your sources.list were
disabled. You can re-enable them after the upgrade with the
'software-properties' tool or your package manager." It has one
button, "Close".

There are several problems with this. Is it really necessary for the
sources to be disabled? Does that mean software from those channels
will be removed too? If so, which software is involved? And if not, if
a security update is issued in that third-party source later on, am I
just out of luck? Why is there no button for cancelling the upgrade at
this point? And if I cancel the upgrade after this point, do the
sources remain disabled, and if so, why?

Even if the function is unchanged, the presentation could be improved
in many ways. Why am I exposed to the filename "sources.list", when I
probably added the channel through Software Sources without seeing
that filename? What is an "entry", and what does it mean for it to be
"disabled"? Which ones were disabled, exactly? Why is a graphical tool
referred to by its command-line name? Why is it using Ascii
apostrophes instead of quote marks? And what is a "package manager"?

> It would seem most convenient to have a safe, stand-alone 
> application that would just look for such software and give good 
> advice on what might not work, where folks might go or look for 
> upgrade paths supported by PPA developers or other organizations, 
> etc.  It would help a lot if it didn't spew out too much 
> information, e.g. by combining warnings for a set of packages into 
> an overall warning about a particular desktop or suite of related 
> packages with similar upgrade issues.
> ...

Why would it be most convenient for it to be a standalone application?
That would mean that most people upgrading wouldn't see it and
therefore wouldn't benefit from it. And if it was intended for use
outside the upgrade process, that's what Software Sources is for. It's
already a Windows-Vista-like awkwardness that Software Sources is a
standalone app instead of a System Settings panel.

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