Coming from the Windows world - am cagey about anything but critical updates. Are "Recommended" updates safe to collect and not hose my machine? Preinstalled Lenovo THinkpad R61i, no external rescue media

Asked by Alex Cockell on 2008-05-18

I'd like some reassurance.

Coming from the Windows world - I remember reading about catastrophic failures caused by "recommended" updates.

I have had my Thinkpad for a week now (preinstalled by Linux Emporium, no rescue media available - so if it got fried by an update, I'd have to just send it back), and I fired up Update Manager to see what ti came back with. I also read Linux Journal - and they suggested "only download critical updates".

However, this means that stuff like "AppArmour" - I believe this is the firewall product(?) - is not updated.

How safe is the machine going to be with both Critical and Recommended updates selected?

I accepted security only yesterday.

Would be good to have some reassurance.

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Alex Cockell
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Martin Božič (martin-bozic) said : #1

You'll be fine with updating everything, as most of the people do.

P.S. I've been using Linux/Ubuntu for two years installing, updating, breaking and then repairing the system many times. After that I got used to use the default repositories and nothing else. Nothing breaks up because of updates themselves but because of the bugs which might be present in the updates. I remember that maybe a year ago an update broke Xorg file which rendered the GUI useless - but another quick update of the system through the command line fixed the problem. Once again, update everything there is and you'll be ok.

Alex Cockell (alcockell) said : #2

Umm - before I do so, how much model-office testing is done before a fix is put into the production library servers?

Sorry - I'm using work terms - have the test teams learned from the incident back then that broke the GUI? Just that with my current level of knowledge, and the fact that I log in through a graphical screen.. I'd rather not be cut off without help if I update...

It would mean me posting the machine back to Birmingham...

Martin Božič (martin-bozic) said : #3

Unfortunately I'm not familiar with the testing procedures for upgrades but I'm sure they must have some. Still things can get awry even in the most rigorous testing procedures - like bad compatibility of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP with some AMD processors, which forced Microsoft to pull the SP3 out of the print factory.

I heartily recommend you to learn some command line basics, because they can be quite useful, once you get around. Although I use the GUI most of the time, some things are much faster to do in the command line. For example, installing. While you can install programs with Add/Remove or Synaptic, you can install, update and upgrade your programs (or packages) with apt-get. For example, the updates you receive through your Update Manager can be manually run by these two commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Go to these two sites if you'd like to learn a few things about command line:

Alex Cockell (alcockell) said : #4

Thanks for that - applied all updates and my machine rebooted happily.