GNOME Software Center wants me to restart to install updates

Hello everyone! I am using the Cinnamon Spin of Fedora 30 and I recently replaced DnfDragora with the GNOME Software center. I’ve run into something unusual, GNOME software wants me to restart to install updates. I know for a fact that a reboot is not required to install updates in any Linux Distro. I can install updates via “sudo dnf upgrade” without restarting. I’m just curious if anyone else has experienced this, and if so, how did you correct the problem? Or is this just a quirk of GNOME Software? Thanks for your help!

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In fact reboot is required in some scenarios. For example, some library your init system depends on is updated. In order to load newer version of that library easiest way is to reboot. Same goes for kernel.

Though, I have noticed as well that Gnome software is reboot happy and prompts for reboot quite often, even when service restart would resolve a need to reboot, but I guess that’s the limitation of the GUI; how to present package upgrades and need to restart some specific service.

Saying restart service would confuse many, mainly new or unexperienced users.

For those wanting to look under the hood, you can always open up a terminal and issue

needs-restarting

Which would show you which processes need to be restarted.

Bear in mind above said, if process requiring restart is init or something like that, it is just easier to reboot.

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Is that specific to Gnome Software? sudo dnf update restarts services without prompting the user, so it’s unclear to me why any updater would be limited from doing so as well.

Awesome! I had to install dnf-utils first which was not already installed. As a side note, searching with dnf provides needs-restarting is an example of why I like dnf.

I see you know your way around quite well :slight_smile:

Somebody that knows underpinnings of Gnome Software better than me might correct me or shed some more light on the situation, but Gnome software itself is in the background using something called PackageKit which is not exactly the same as dnf. Choice to restart the service automatically or not, is done there I believe.

If I was the one designing the system I would rather have it just prompt and let the user decide than automatically restart the service and possibly ruin someones day (if some unsaved work is lost).

From what I’ve seen, there is no decision-making process. Flatpaks are allowed to update themselves online, everything else has to upgrade offline.

That’s my experience as well. When I get a notification from Gnome Software that there are updates to be installed, I just open a terminal and run sudo dnf update. That usually works well enough, and if there’s a kernel upgrade, I can decide when to reboot.

However, I have noticed in the past, that upgrading like that can cause occasional breakage in the desktop environment (like lost access to the GNOME keyring, font issues, keyboard shortcuts not working, etc.). Not sure whether that is due to background components crashing hard, or restarting and losing sync with other (desktop) processes. If anything like that happens, I usually just go for the reboot anyway.

Especially for less experienced users, the offline upgrade route is the safest (and it allows them to take a coffee break, speaking of which… :coffee:).

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The basic point is this: updates without reboots can be unpredictable. Yes, in many cases a single service can be restarted and the system can continue to function. However, there are plenty of cases where this is not true. One example is when a low-level library is updated. There’s really no way to know which services might actually need to be updated (they might not depend on the library directly, but through some other dependency).

Furthermore, there are some (unusual, but valid) cases where the system might not even be in a reasonable state to perform the update. For example, if you’ve been playing around with mount points at all, you might be applying changes to the wrong partition. GNOME Software forces a reboot because it guarantees that the updates in the offline updater occur on a pristinely-booted system, meaning no live changes can be in play.

It’s an overly-paranoid solution, granted. Those of us who know how it all fits together can still use DNF and systemctl restart when we know it will work; GNOME Software doesn’t prevent or get in the way of that. However, the goal of GNOME Software is to work all the time, no matter the technical acumen of the person using it. So it made some tradeoffs in favor of reliability rather than uptime.

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I’ll have to double check this, but it may restart services that belong to packages that have been updated, but it will not touch services that merely depend on updated packages.

By the way, dnf now has a plugin that informs the user of what software needs to be restarted:

sudo dnf install dnf-plugin-tracer

Here is an example from an update I just ran. This is the list of packages that were part of the transaction:

Installing:
 kernel                                             x86_64                           5.0.14-300.fc30                                       updates                                       26 k
 kernel-core                                        x86_64                           5.0.14-300.fc30                                       updates                                       25 M
 kernel-modules                                     x86_64                           5.0.14-300.fc30                                       updates                                       28 M
 kernel-modules-extra                               x86_64                           5.0.14-300.fc30                                       updates                                      2.1 M
Upgrading:
 flash-plugin                                       x86_64                           32.0.0.192-release                                    adobe-linux-x86_64                           8.6 M
 NetworkManager-ssh                                 x86_64                           1.2.10-1.fc30                                         updates                                       66 k
 NetworkManager-ssh-gnome                           x86_64                           1.2.10-1.fc30                                         updates                                       30 k
 alsa-lib                                           x86_64                           1.1.9-1.fc30                                          updates                                      403 k
 alsa-plugins-pulseaudio                            x86_64                           1.1.9-1.fc30                                          updates                                       39 k
 alsa-ucm                                           noarch                           1.1.9-1.fc30                                          updates                                       49 k
 alsa-utils                                         x86_64                           1.1.9-1.fc30                                          updates                                      1.0 M
 container-selinux                                  noarch                           2:2.101-1.gitb0061dc.fc30                             updates                                       47 k
 dbus-broker                                        x86_64                           21-3.fc30                                             updates                                      161 k
 dbus-glib                                          x86_64                           0.110-5.fc30                                          updates                                      115 k
 flatpak                                            x86_64                           1.2.4-3.fc30                                          updates                                      1.1 M
 flatpak-libs                                       x86_64                           1.2.4-3.fc30                                          updates                                      345 k
 fuse-overlayfs                                     x86_64                           0.3-9.dev.git89bd69b.fc30                             updates                                       50 k
 gdb-headless                                       x86_64                           8.3-1.fc30                                            updates                                      3.4 M
 gnome-calendar                                     x86_64                           3.32.2-1.fc30                                         updates                                      562 k
 libedit                                            x86_64                           3.1-27.20190324cvs.fc30                               updates                                       94 k
 libmodulemd                                        x86_64                           2.4.0-1.fc30                                          updates                                      169 k
 libmodulemd1                                       x86_64                           1.8.10-1.fc30                                         updates                                      175 k
 libnice                                            x86_64                           0.1.16-3.fc30                                         updates                                      174 k
 mesa-dri-drivers                                   x86_64                           19.0.4-1.fc30                                         updates                                       14 M
 mesa-filesystem                                    x86_64                           19.0.4-1.fc30                                         updates                                       18 k
 mesa-khr-devel                                     x86_64                           19.0.4-1.fc30                                         updates                                       19 k
 mesa-libEGL                                        x86_64                           19.0.4-1.fc30                                         updates                                      108 k
 mesa-libGL                                         x86_64                           19.0.4-1.fc30                                         updates                                      149 k
 mesa-libGL-devel                                   x86_64                           19.0.4-1.fc30                                         updates                                      163 k
 mesa-libOpenCL                                     x86_64                           19.0.4-1.fc30                                         updates                                      319 k
 mesa-libgbm                                        x86_64                           19.0.4-1.fc30                                         updates                                       38 k
 mesa-libglapi                                      x86_64                           19.0.4-1.fc30                                         updates                                       36 k
 mesa-libxatracker                                  x86_64                           19.0.4-1.fc30                                         updates                                      1.2 M
 mesa-vulkan-drivers                                x86_64                           19.0.4-1.fc30                                         updates                                      1.9 M
 notmuch                                            x86_64                           0.28.4-1.fc30                                         updates                                      206 k
 notmuch-mutt                                       noarch                           0.28.4-1.fc30                                         updates                                       16 k
 notmuch-vim                                        x86_64                           0.28.4-1.fc30                                         updates                                       18 k
 orc                                                x86_64                           0.4.29-2.fc30                                         updates                                      158 k
 pcre2                                              x86_64                           10.33-2.fc30                                          updates                                      248 k
 pcre2-utf16                                        x86_64                           10.33-2.fc30                                          updates                                      230 k
 python3-libmodulemd                                x86_64                           2.4.0-1.fc30                                          updates                                       22 k
 python3-rpkg                                       noarch                           1.58-2.fc30                                           updates                                      162 k
 qt5-qtbase                                         x86_64                           5.12.1-7.fc30                                         updates                                      3.3 M
 qt5-qtbase-common                                  noarch                           5.12.1-7.fc30                                         updates                                       14 k
 qt5-qtbase-gui                                     x86_64                           5.12.1-7.fc30                                         updates                                      5.7 M
 qt5-qtwayland                                      x86_64                           5.12.1-3.fc30                                         updates                                      823 k
 rpkg-common                                        noarch                           1.58-2.fc30                                           updates                                       27 k
 unicode-ucd                                        noarch                           12.1.0-1.fc30                                         updates                                      7.1 M
 wpa_supplicant                                     x86_64                           1:2.8-2.fc30                                          updates                                      1.9 M
 xfsprogs                                           x86_64                           4.19.0-5.fc30                                         updates                                      1.0 M
 google-chrome-stable                               x86_64                           74.0.3729.157-1                                       google-chrome                                 56 M
Removing:
 kernel                                             x86_64                           5.0.9-301.fc30                                        @updates-testing                               0
 kernel-core                                        x86_64                           5.0.9-301.fc30                                        @updates-testing                              61 M
 kernel-modules                                     x86_64                           5.0.9-301.fc30                                        @updates-testing                              27 M
 kernel-modules-extra                               x86_64                           5.0.9-301.fc30                                        @updates-testing                             2.1 M

This is what the plugin suggested:


You should restart:
  * Some applications using:
      dropbox stop; dropbox start
      killall -3 gnome-shell
      pulseaudio --kill; pulseaudio --start
      sudo systemctl restart ModemManager
      sudo systemctl restart NetworkManager
      sudo systemctl restart NetworkManager
      sudo systemctl restart abrt-journal-core
      sudo systemctl restart abrt-oops
      sudo systemctl restart abrt-xorg
      sudo systemctl restart abrtd
      sudo systemctl restart accounts-daemon
      sudo systemctl restart alsa-state
      sudo systemctl restart atd
      sudo systemctl restart auditd
      sudo systemctl restart bolt
      sudo systemctl restart colord
      sudo systemctl restart crond
      sudo systemctl restart cups
      sudo systemctl restart dbus-:1.8-org.freedesktop.problems@0
      sudo systemctl restart dbus-broker
      sudo systemctl restart dbus-broker
      sudo systemctl restart docker
      sudo systemctl restart firewalld
      sudo systemctl restart fwupd
      sudo systemctl restart gdm
      sudo systemctl restart geoclue
      sudo systemctl restart gssproxy
      sudo systemctl restart libvirtd
      sudo systemctl restart polkit
      sudo systemctl restart rngd
      sudo systemctl restart smartd
      sudo systemctl restart sssd
      sudo systemctl restart sssd
      sudo systemctl restart sssd
      sudo systemctl restart sssd-kcm
      sudo systemctl restart systemd-journald
      sudo systemctl restart systemd-logind
      sudo systemctl restart systemd-machined
      sudo systemctl restart systemd-resolved
      sudo systemctl restart systemd-udevd
      sudo systemctl restart tpm2-abrmd
      sudo systemctl restart udisks2
      sudo systemctl restart upower
      sudo systemctl restart wpa_supplicant
      tracker daemon --terminate=store; tracker daemon --start store

  * These applications manually:
      (sd-pam)
      QtWebEngineProcess ...
      QtWebEngineProcess --type=zygote --webengine-schemes=qrc:sLV --lang=en-GB
      Xwayland
      abrt-applet
      at-spi2-registryd
      deja-dup-monitor
      dnf
      evolution-addressbook-factory
      evolution-alarm-notify
      evolution-calendar-factory
      evolution-source-registry
      flatpak-session-helper
      gdm-session-wor
      gnome-calendar
      gnome-pomodoro
      gnome-session-binary
      gnome-shell-calendar-server
      gnome-software
      gnome-terminal-server
      goa-daemon
      goa-identity-service
      gsd-a11y-settings
      gsd-clipboard
      gsd-color
      gsd-datetime
      gsd-disk-utility-notify
      gsd-housekeeping
      gsd-keyboard
      gsd-media-keys
      gsd-mouse
      gsd-power
      gsd-print-notifications
      gsd-rfkill
      gsd-screensaver-proxy
      gsd-sharing
      gsd-smartcard
      gsd-sound
      gsd-wacom
      gsd-xsettings
      gvfs-goa-volume-monitor
      gvfsd-dnssd
      gvfsd-http
      gvfsd-network
      ibus-daemon
      ibus-dconf
      ibus-engine-simple
      ibus-extension-gtk3
      ibus-portal
      parcellite
      qutebrowser
      ssh-agent
      sudo
      tracker-miner-fs
      xdg-desktop-portal
      xdg-desktop-portal-gtk
      xdg-document-portal
      xdg-permission-store

Additionally to those process above, there are:
  - 12 processes requiring restart of your session (i.e. Logging out & Logging in again)
  - 4 processes requiring reboot

For more information run:
    sudo tracer -iat 1557937269.9950528

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Ah I see. So what you’re saying is, GNOME software is prompting me to restart to be on the safe side, even though I don’t have to if I don’t want to. Got it. Thank you.

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I learn something new each day. I legit thought you can always update without restart. Thank you for the clarification!

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Not exactly; GNOME Software only stages the updates until the next boot. If you don’t reboot, you don’t pick up the changes.

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Interesting. I am new to Fedora (1) and I was wondering if this was standard practice or because there was a firmware update among the stuff that got upgraded. Well, now I know :slight_smile:

(1) I used Fedora at the very beginning back in 2003 with Core 1 to Core 5

Hello @runlevel0: welcome to the community! Please take a minute to go over the posts in #start-here if you’ve not had a chance to yet.

From what I know (and please correct me if this is incorrect), this is now standard practice for gnome-software, even if the update does not include a firmware update.

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And I always thought that e.g. kernel update doesn’t require reboot. If PC goes idle, rewake will load new kernel version… So now?

I don’t think this was ever the case. What will load the new kernel? The old kernel? But then that means the old kernel must still be running, so it needs to replace itself but not affect other programs that are running… I hope you see where this is going. It is a very very hard problem to solve :smile:

Although that kind of implementation is in fact posible with newer kernel versions it is not really straight-forward to achieve and requires special bits compiled in the kernel. So most simple answer is “just reboot” :slight_smile:

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For a bit more background information, as far as i know, the decision to apply updates only upon reboot was made by Gnome Project’s developers some time ago, about a year or two. As Fedora tends to not to stray very far from upstream projects’ decisions, this is the default behavior in Gnome in Fedora too.

The reasoning was exactly what you guys provided in previous posts: system stability, especially for newer users. One additional argument presented was that applying updates to system that is under (heavy?) use can lead to some files being unable to be updated/replaced – let’s say if some other process uses the file in question – which will leave the system in a bad state.

I don’t have links ready, but it should be easy to find if someone interested. There were some backlash from the users (not only Fedora’s ones) at the time.

I think (I’m not sure) that KDE’s default GUI package manager doesn’t enforce reboots.

I second this strongly, I’ve been using this for several releases now.

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As an alternative, you could try gpk-update-viewer (if that tool is missing: dnf install gnome-packagekit-updater). That’s another updater which won’t ask you to reboot.