#1 Complaint about Ubuntu: Updates break things
albertomilone at ubuntu.com
Sat Dec 20 09:29:47 GMT 2008
On Friday 19 December 2008 21:09:01 Cody A.W. Somerville wrote:
> For example, I remember one time an update to the nvidia binary blob
> drivers caused the xserver to fail to start in certain cases. It didn't
> affect the *right* people or *enough* people for it to get the attention it
> deserved. I asked someone about it because I did happen to hear about it
> from one of my friends who I converted to Ubuntu and was told that by
> whoever uploaded it that they had heard about cases where that was
> occurring but there were no plans for remedial action.
> Pushing updates to -updates is so much riskier than people realize due to
> the massively different amount of QA resources invested in -updates
> compared to testing the development release. Often times, breakages only
> affect a subset of people using Ubuntu or it causes a problem and a lot of
> folks are savy enough to work around it or know someone who is. However,
> people get fed up and tired of having to fix things after updates and turn
> away from Ubuntu; an undesirable conclusion to say the least.
As regards the Nvidia binary drivers, I agree with Bryce. There's very little
QA the SRU team can do apart from checking the packaging and from reading the
feedback that the packages receive when they are in -proposed.
I am aware of the fact that with every update there's a risk of regressions
for specific hardware configurations (i.e. not only the graphics card but also
the BIOS, etc.) therefore I would like to propose using -backports instead of
SRUs to update binary drivers in stable releases. This means that users won't
get new releases of the drivers unless they enable the backports and therefore
they will be (by default) less exposed to regressions. SRUs should be used
when there's a bug in the packaging or when there's a known security flaw in
the driver (this could cause regressions too as we couldn't separate the
security fix from other changes in the driver).
This approach has at least one drawback though. Do we really want users to
keep the backports enabled all the time? It would be nice if users had an easy
way to tell Update Manager to update only binary graphics drivers from the
backports as I'm convinced that many users want a stable environment (i.e. no
other backported packages) with extended hardware support (e.g for the latest
card models) or with increased performance or simply with bugfixes in the
What do you think?
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