Notifications: uselessness of

Odysseus Flappington deriziotis at
Wed Mar 4 10:18:11 GMT 2009

2009/3/3 Marius Gedminas <marius at>:
> On Tue, Mar 03, 2009 at 03:47:17PM +0100, Laurent wrote:
>> I my personal experience (which is limited to have installed 5 Ubuntu's
>> on non-expert friend's computers), I have the same impression. The users
>> divide in two categories
>> 1. the ones who say "updates ? I don"t care; even security holes : there
>> are no viruses on Linux and even with viruses, I don't care : I have
>> nothing to hide on my computer, no personal data, no agenda, nothing"
>> 2. the ones who care.
>> We all agree here that the reasons invoked by the first group are
>> terribly wrong, and are the result of deep misunderstanding of many
>> points in general informatics... however...
> And then there are ones who don't understand and are scared by every
> unfamiliar window and just click on 'Cancel' by default, thinking it's
> the safer choice.  You could consider them to be part of group (1).
>> The first group will NEVER make the updates, a part with an automatic
>> system which don't even notify. What we need to do for them is
>> *education*[1]; there are no real technical way to make them aware of
>> the updates.
>> For the second group, the small old icon which appears is sufficient.
>> I personally don't know people in an intermediate state between these
>> two categories. I suppose there exists some ... but I fear that they are
>> very few.
>> My two cents
>> have a good afternoon
>> Laurent
>> [1] btw, if someone knows a text that can explain me how to be
>> persuasive in explaining that security updates are needed for everybody,
>> I'm interested. Although I try very hard, I never succeeded to make that
>> point clear in the head of non-expert users.
> Have you tried appealing to their sense of civic responsibility?  If
> somebody takes over their machine, they could use it to attack other
> people on the Internet/send spam/etc.

I'm sorry, I cannot in good conscience advise any non-technical person
to install updates on their own. If I were to do this, and something
broke, I would have to go out and fix it right there and then, and
considering how little time I have, this is not an option.

When it comes to installing updates for people I provide support to, I
will only ever do it myself, and when I am prepared to spend the time
to fix anything that may break.

First thing I do once I have a fresh install ready and working on a
non-techie's computer, is disable the Update Notifier.

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