The updates firehose

Kevin Kofler kevin.kofler at
Sun Jun 10 01:06:39 UTC 2007

Jesse Keating <jkeating <at>> writes:
> Seriously.  We're drowning our users in updates.  Are all of them really 
> necessary?  I feel like we've got this culture of update whatever/whenever 
> coming from Extras where it was just fire and forget.  While that might be 
> fun for the maintainer, is it fun for the user?  Is it fun for the user with 
> a slow connection?

The many updates are really Fedora's strength, and the one reason I can run a 
stable distro. :-) I don't want old software with known bugs which are already 
fixed upstream, and sometimes feature upgrades are also possible without 
breaking things (think leaf applications here, or backwards-compatible library 
upgrades like KDE 3.4.2->3.5.0 was, but of course not core libraries with an 
soname bump ;-) ) so I'd like to have them. Otherwise I'd have to run an 
unstable distribution like Rawhide and those are subject to the usual 
dependency breakages and such.

Fedora is usually pretty good about pushing things which break stuff (because 
they're still under development) to Rawhide only while still pushing many 
updates which work fine to the stable release. I'm pretty sure many people 
picked Fedora for that reason. There's plenty of other distributions which 
follow strict "security fixes and critical bugfixes only" policies, Red Hat 
even produces such a distribution (and people who don't want to pay for it can 
use CentOS or Scientific Linux), so IMHO if that's what the users want, that's 
what they should be pointed to. Throwing away the frequent upgrades would be 
losing Fedora's main "selling" point.

I also love it when there's a newsitem about KOffice at and I can 
comment that the new version is already in F7 updates-testing and will be in 
updates soon. That whereas all the other distros only offer the new version in 
some strange per-package repository (which doesn't scale, you end up with 
hundreds of repos if you want all your packages up to date, and who knows how 
many conflicts) or not at all.

As for slow connections, I think a combination of deltarpms and filters like 
yum-security can help a lot.

        Kevin Kofler

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