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Re: Escaping

Bob Shaffer wrote:

I would really like to be able to run a command every month, week, or day
that would upgrade all of the software on my system. Regardless of what
piece of software or what kind of software it is, I would like to just be
able to upgrade it no questions asked and not have to wait until a new
"release version" becomes available and upgrade everything then. More
importantly, I think that the whole EOL thing is nonsense. Every program
that makes up everything in Linux is constantly being improved, having
security vulnerabilities corrected and bugs fixed, etc. Could I
conceivably be able to set it up yum, up2date, or something so that when
FC2/3/4/etc come out, I'm already running them, or am I doomed to always
have to upgrade only when the new versions are released?

You can do this pretty well within a release, so long as you keep tabs on what packages are being updated. I tend to just do this manually, myself. I get Fedora security notifications in my email, and then typically once a week, I ssh into all the Fedora machines here, "yum update", and "yum upgrade". I *could* automate it, but it takes so little time to do it manually--maybe 15 minutes at the most--and keeps me well aware of what software is running on our machines. It's also nice because if a critical service (mail, webserver) is being upgraded, I can do some simple testing to make sure the upgrade went smoothly. With all of that taken into account, I'd say I spend between 20 and 30 minutes a week on updates of 4-5 machines, and that's arguably more time than I really need to spend.

It's a bit different when new versions of a Linux distribution are released, since new releases typically contain larger changes. For example, SELinux will be introduced in FC2; that's not the sort of change you would want to just automatically have applied to your critical servers. Although you probably won't have to pop in an install disc to get that change; you will likely still be able to update your system to FC2 with yum.

The one distribution that I've been looking at most recently and appears
to have this feature is "Gentoo Linux". It appears that one could install
their initial release, run a command something like "emerge world", and
soon be running a release more current then their last. The "releases"
they use are fairly meaningless in this sense - more like snapshots that
are made of the distribution at some interval. I'm wondering if this is
possible with Fedora and/or if it ever will be.

Take it from me; I've administered several Gentoo systems before, and I do *not* consider it a stable distribution. The RedHat and Fedora crews are committed to producing a well thought-out, well-tested distribution...binary packages that must meet certain requirements in order to be included in the "stable" branch of the distribution. What the Gentoo crew produces is more a hodgepodge (sic?) of random, poorly-tested packages combined to make a semi-usable system.

Not that that's a bad thing...it's actually got some pretty neat features if you want to use for a desktop system. But "emerge world" doesn't always work like you think it will. Often things break, and when they do, the Gentoo packaging system is much harder to deal with than a binary packaging system like RPM.

I like Fedora, but I hate upgrading.  I do way to much customisation with
my system for simply using the "upgrade" option in the installer for every
new release to be a realistic possibility.  In the past I have tried this
and it ends up creating more work than just backing everything up and
doing a clean install followed by many hours or days of reconfiguration.

What options do I have, if any, to accomplish anything similar to what I'm
talking about with Fedora Core?

You really only have two choices: put up with Fedora's volume of updates, or choose another Linux distribution. As Duncan Brown said in his reply post, RedHat Enterprise Linux is fairly cheaply priced for what you get, and they'll have fewer updates, although you'll likely find yourself running older software (which can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it). I use several other distributions--Slackware and Debian, namely--and find that they are well suited for some tasks that Fedora simply is not. But, I expect you won't find a distribution that completely eliminates the "crud factor" with regards to automatic updates. And I don't think the updater in Fedora is by nature any better or worse than those of Debian or Slackware (in fact, you can use Debian's apt to keep Fedora up to date).


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