[nSLUG] Finding linux products and software

D G Teed donald.teed at gmail.com
Fri Apr 13 15:32:52 ADT 2007

On 4/13/07, Bill Davidson <billdavidson at eastlink.ca> wrote:
> I've never run any version of Ubuntu, so you'll have to forgive my
> ignorance, but does it not allow you to decide whether or not to install
> available updates?  Are the updates not described so you can decide
> whether a given update fixes an important security vulnerability in a
> program you use, or is just a feature-adding minor version bump in some
> package you seldom use?

This was about 2 years ago, so my memory is a little vague.
It was a test box to see what the rave around Ubuntu was about.
There was a little red blob or glowing ember in the upper right
corner of the desktop to tell you updates are required.
That would annoy me every week or more often on a
regular basis. In the same house, I ran a Debian stable box.
On Debian, updates appeared once per 2 to 3 weeks
and rarely required kernel updates.

Debian would release security updates, and often backport
the security fixes to older versions which are already in stable and well
QA'ed - to limit the impact on server users.  Ubuntu pushed
down updates on security and all kinds of bug fixes or point release
updates.  On Ubuntu 5.x, several times my kernel requirements were wiped
out and I had to configure sound and video modules and libraries yet again.
Since it was a test box I was more interested in seeing how it behaved
than exactly why I needed each of the updates.  I don't know why the kernel
was updated that often, but I suspect it was something to do
with Ubuntu packaging, and fixing problems caused by previous
packages (forum users complaining "my sound is broken"),
than in keeping up with whatever was released at kernel.org .

When I saw the forum notice by Ubuntu developers that they
were going to ship by a gold date rather than fix a kernel problem
that had alsa sound busted for a good percentage of users
(despite the pleas of dozens of beta testers and an existing fix),
I started to wonder what drove their priorities.  Maybe mass producing
media and shipping it around the world made it something
that was impossible to change.

Again, this is history and I wouldn't be surprised to read others
say that the current behaviour is better.  It's all part of the
maturing process I've discussed.


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