#1 Complaint about Ubuntu: Updates break things

Odysseus Flappington deriziotis at gmail.com
Fri Dec 19 17:56:35 GMT 2008

2008/12/19 Cody A.W. Somerville <cody-somerville at ubuntu.com>

> Hello Folks,
>  After getting yet another phone call from one of the many average,
> everyday users I know using Ubuntu about how after downloading and
> installing yet another mammoth load of updates on her Ubuntu machine,
> running a stable, supported release, her computer crashed with the following
> scary message, I've decided to write this e-mail.
> Aborted because of invalid compressed format (err=2)
> Kernel Panic: SYNCING VFS, unable to mount root fs on unknown-block.
> The #1 complaint about Ubuntu that I hear time and time again from both joe
> blow end users and business/enterprise users is that updates to stable
> releases *break* stable releases. However, the impression I gather of the
> developer mentality is that we want to increase our bandwidth and ability,
> via changes to policy and/or processes, to make SRUs quicker and fastar.
> Instead, I believe we should be focusing on how to improve the quality of
> these updates and reduce the number of regressions and breakages occurring
> in stable releases.
> For example, "Oh, we'll fix that in -updates" is the wrong attitude IMHO.
> "The stable serie usually has fixes worth having and not too many unstable
> changes (though the stable SVN code usually doesn't get lot of testing)" is
> the wrong attitude IMHO. "I'll just rely on someone else to test my changes
> properly and thoroughly" is the wrong attitude IMHO!
> I think its rather sad when I hear comments like the following:
> dude, update breakage is why I jump to the devel release as soon as I can.
> It really sucks when you can't stick with a release for more than a few
>> months before it's kinda unusable.
>> Specially with LTS releases, 3 years? heck no
> Updates are the most infuriating part about using Ubuntu. I'd disable them
>> but even -security breaks my computer sometimes because they base off of the
>> packages in -updates which means I get non-security updates I don't want!
>  Oh look, time to download the usual barrage of 20-60 updates I get with
>> Ubutu each week. I wonder if its going to break my computer this week.
>> Ubuntu updates is like Russian roulette.
> Updates breaking stable releases is a serious issue.  I think we need to
> re-evaluate stable release updates and the numerous exceptions/breaks that
> have been granted to packages (or groups of packages) such as gnome.
> Cheers,
> --
> Cody A.W. Somerville
> Software Systems Release Engineer
> Custom Engineering Solutions Group
> Canonical OEM Services
> Cell: 506-449-5899
> Email: cody.somerville at canonical.com
> --
> ubuntu-devel mailing list
> ubuntu-devel at lists.ubuntu.com
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Funny you should say that actually.

This is very true. I stopped installing updates about a year and a half ago.
Every time I install, I get things set-up and working, then I uncheck Update
Manager from the session startup altogether.

Next time anything gets updated is when I do a reinstall (usually once a
year), or if I'm trying to fix something specific, otherwise, if it ain't
broke don't fix it.

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