Update Instructions Conflict?

Asked by Hummingbird on 2008-02-07


Running Ubuntu generic on a Dell 4400 x86 machine and it seems to work fine. I have been keeping up with updates as they come in and they all seem to work just fine. I read the description part of each update and the latest description for kernel updates set me off to this group to try to understand what it was saying:


Linux kernel image for version 2.6.17 on x86/x86_64
from version to (size 21.0 MB)

This package contains the Linux kernel image for version 2.6.17 on x86/x86_64.
Also includes the corresponding System.map file, the modules built by the packager, and scripts that try to ensure that the system is not left in an unbootable state after an update.
Supports Generic processors.
Geared toward desktop systems.
You likely do not want to install this package directly. Instead, install the linux-generic meta-package, which will ensure that upgrades work correctly, and that supporting packages are also installed.


The first thing that occurred to me was whether the "Linux-generic meta-package" was already installed. Neither the Add/Remove dialog nor the Synaptic package list such a thing and that started me off to the web to try to find out what it was. I am not having any luck. So the basic question is how do I know if the "Linux-generic meta package" is installed? And do I really need it? And since Synaptic doesn't list anything like that where do I get it? I appreciate the advice that came with the update but if the "Linux-generic meta package" is needed then why isn't it a part of the update?

Thanks for the help,

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Best Olivier (olivier-lacroix) said :

Hi !

a meta package is a package without anything in it, except dependencies. Let's take the example of the "linux-generic" metapackage. Suppose you have this package installed. It will be updated to depend on the latest kernel image available in the repositories. That way, a new kernel image can be installed automatically once it comes out. Does that make sense ?

Search for "linux-generic" in synaptic, and you will certainly see that it is installed.

You says that you have been keeping up with updates, but you seems to be running ubuntu edgy, which is more than one year old. If I wear you, I would consider upgrading to the current version.

Tell me if you need more info

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Hummingbird (hummer) said :


Thank you Olivier, I appreciate the quick reply and the information. I have been working with computers since 1964 and PCs since 1980 (...well when they first came out). But I haven't much unix/linux experience, so sometimes the terminology trips me up.

I ran your suggested search in synaptic and sure enough "linux-generic" is listed. Metapackage is just not included in the name.

Again, thank you very much. I will now go do an update. :)