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Are "restart after updates" really necessary?

asked 2014-12-29 02:26:50 -0500

alfC gravatar image

Rather often (about once every 2 days) the "Software" application will tell that there "OS Updates". The OS updates sometimes are kernel updates but other times are just secondary compiler tools and such (e.g clang, mesa). Apparently, the only way of accepting this updates is to click into the "Restart and Install" uptades button. Which has the drawback that I will need to restart the session.

If do yum upgrade instead, these same updates will be installed (obviously not all of the them --like the kernel-- will be in use before I restart, but I don't mind that). The Software center will not complain anymore. This behavior makes me think that the restart was mostly unnecesary in the first place.

There are two questions:

1) If don't do anything, will these "OS updates" be installed anyway? In other words, is the work around yum upgrade necessary?

2) Is there a GUI way to install (or accept) the updates without restarting?

(I have Fedora 21 but this is common to all previous installation.)

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Guided by @arehtykitna answer, I found yum-cron-security package which apparently solves this problem by automatically installing the security updates dialy. I'll check it out. I am not sure if that includes all the "OS updates". https://apps.fedoraproject.org/packages/yum-cron-security

alfC gravatar imagealfC ( 2014-12-29 15:59:39 -0500 )edit
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also there is yum-plugin-ps. When this plugin is installed it adds the yum command "ps", which allows you to see which running processes are accociated with which packages (and if they need rebooting, or have updates, etc.)

arehtykitna gravatar imagearehtykitna ( 2014-12-30 12:50:46 -0500 )edit

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answered 2014-12-29 09:55:00 -0500

arehtykitna gravatar image

1) I believe it is aimed at less experienced users so that all they have to do is let the system do it's thing rather than worry about checking for and applying X number of updates at Y time. You could wait to apply updates until you shut down the computer.

All this can be disabled also if you don't like this method and want to do something like 2 below (or use the command line tools).

2) you could install and use yumex to manage packages and updates. A GUI version of yum with a nice set of features. I would also recommend the yum-plugin-fastestmirror package if you don't have that installed already.

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The inexperience user may feel under the obligation of restarting once every day almost. This is very unproductive. You mention "All this can be disabled also if you don't like this method". How? Finally, thanks for the recommendation of yum-plugin-fastestmirror. I didn't know, I also noticed that there is a yum-cron-daily maybe that is what I need.

alfC gravatar imagealfC ( 2014-12-29 15:56:47 -0500 )edit
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It isn't just for convenience or ease of use. There are reasons why gnome-software prefers updates with reboots.

FranciscoD_ gravatar imageFranciscoD_ ( 2014-12-29 16:10:22 -0500 )edit

indeed. not everyone can tell which patches will require a reboot to complete because of running programs and services.

arehtykitna gravatar imagearehtykitna ( 2014-12-29 16:20:59 -0500 )edit

Most updates just require restarting whatever programs are affected by the update, possibly including logging out and back in. The program needs-restarting is part of yum-utils and will let you know what programs to restart. (Oddly enough, it won't tell you to restart if something like glibc is updated, but it does let you know most of what you need to know.)

sideburns gravatar imagesideburns ( 2014-12-29 16:56:54 -0500 )edit

The point I think was that a lot of services running in the background that a novice user would not be expected to know about may also need restarting. Anyway, i use dnf too. To each his own. Don't use software to update if you don't want to restart.

FranciscoD_ gravatar imageFranciscoD_ ( 2014-12-30 01:47:01 -0500 )edit
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answered 2014-12-29 16:08:59 -0500

FranciscoD_ gravatar image

This question has been asked on the devel list by people in the community that made a similar observation - that yum update works just as well. However, Richard, who is upstream for gnome-software clarified that yum updates aren't always fool proof. There are cases where these updates will cause errors and therefore to avoid these errors, most systems, including Windows and Mac use offline updates where your system is updated at boot when none of your applications are being used.

So, most of the time, a yum update works, but for novice users who do not use the command line and who would be rather stuck if a yum update without reboot broke something, gnome-software does the safest thing.

I generally only update with gnome-software when a kernel update is available or if a rather important update has been pushed. Of course, I'm part of the packager and testing groups so I keep an eye on what updates are pushed and I cannot expect everyone to do the same. Please do remember though that the workstation product and Fedora in general (if you're not using the cloud/server products) is a desktop/laptop oriented Linux distribution where rebooting a couple of times a week shouldn't be an issue.

PS: I don't have the link to the devel list thread handy but you can look for it yourself for details.

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There must be a place where it is set which updates require reboot. Maybe the answer is to make the list less restrictive. For example, why would a reboot be necessary when clang is updated?, or blacs or gettext, mailx, perl, scalapack, x264 (I am just listings the "OS uptades" d'jour [Januray 5th] that are requiring the reboot)

alfC gravatar imagealfC ( 2015-01-05 15:54:51 -0500 )edit

Like I said, it is not easy to decide when a reboot is required and when it isn't. The safest thing to do is to suggest a reboot. Please use yum if you don't want to reboot. The forum is not the correct place for policy discussion. You should speak to upstream.

FranciscoD_ gravatar imageFranciscoD_ ( 2015-01-06 08:17:31 -0500 )edit
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answered 2014-12-29 05:55:00 -0500

deadrat gravatar image

For updating, I always use terminal and it is a very simple command line. It doesn't ask me to restart after installing the updates if I do it via terminal.

Just try it and see if it helps.
On terminal, type sudo yum update and hit Enter.
If it asks for your password, type it and hit Enter.
Then it will check the repo and if any update available, it may ask for permission to download. hit Y.
That is it. It will be updated.

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Thanks, this is what I end up doing all the time. I end up doing this each time Software Center announces an update. Doing this everyday seems strange. I wondered if there is a better way of doing this.

alfC gravatar imagealfC ( 2014-12-29 15:55:00 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2014-12-29 02:26:50 -0500

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Last updated: Dec 29 '14