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Thread: Is allowing Ubuntu to install updates normally a BIG mistake?

  1. #1
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    Is allowing Ubuntu to install updates normally a BIG mistake?

    Is allowing Ubuntu to install updates normally a BIG mistake?

    To start I want to point out that I'm pretty new to Ubuntu and Linux.
    I booted Ubuntu 9.10 this morning and had an Update window pop up. Silly me, not knowing any better, told it to go ahead and update my computer. The update took a good while, once it was done it wanted to reboot, I told it OK. The shutdown was normal but booting failed. It filled the monitor with garbage characters and just sit there blinking at me. After a good while I gave up and hit the hardware reset button. The boot went a little better this time but not much, no garbage on screen but a pop up telling me I didn't have graphics drivers or they were corrupt or something along those lines; wish I had written down the exact text but I didn't! I had several choices, boot in low graphics mode, edit this file, edit another file. I took a look at the files but even if I had a clue about what to change I didn't see any way to save changes. I finally booted in low graphics mode and reinstalled my nvidia drivers. It took me about three days to figure out how to install the drivers to start with and only about half a day to reinstall so I guess I'm making some progress.

    On to the next problem. I wanted to look at a file on a Windows box and went to Places, Network, Windows Network, MSHOME, selected the Windows computer and was presented with "Unable to mount location, failed to retrieve share list from server". I was able to browse the Windows Network fine before this mornings update. I'm a pretty paient guy so I searched the Ubuntu Forums and found http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1169149 a tutorial by dmizer entitled "Howto: Fix Windows share browsing issues" it seems to be a very good How To, thank you very much dmizer! I followed his steps to solving Problem 2 which seemed the most appropriate for my needs. The last step was to reboot the computer.
    I went to close Firefox and was presented with "You are about to close two tabs" instead of the normal "Do you want Firefox to save your tabs for the next time it starts?"!
    After finally giving up on getting Firefox to remember my current pages, I reset the computer but still cannot access computers on the Windows Network.

    If the answer to my question, "Is allowing Ubuntu to install updates normally a BIG mistake"
    is yes. I vote that Update Manager be renamed to "Auto Self Destruct"!

    I have no idea what else I'm going to find. I decided to post this right after I noticed the
    change in Firefox.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Re: Is allowing Ubuntu to install updates normally a BIG mistake?

    Normally is safe to update but you can always just close it and wait a few days for any bugs to become evident and fixes made. See the threads on the 2.6.31-19 kernel update which is causing some problems (which is probably what happened to you). Since it required a reboot like you said it did.

    I just deselected the kernel updates and updated the rest on this pc earlier.

    As for firefox. If there is another window, the download box or an update box and you close it without closing the window, the download box or the update box first it wont ask to "close and save" it will just ask if you want to "close all tabs"
    Last edited by 2hot6ft2; February 6th, 2010 at 10:25 PM.

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  3. #3
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Is allowing Ubuntu to install updates normally a BIG mistake?

    I don't know exactly what happened, but I understand the frustration. Because you said you're new to linux, just to remind you that linux keeps more than one kernel in the boot menu for situations like these. If you dual boot, you are presented with grub menu at start. Instead of letting the default, most recent kernel load, just select an earlier one that worked fine.
    If you have only ubuntu, you don't get this menu. But you can make it show by hitting Esc (I think, I always confuse them with Shift, because one is for 9.04 and the other for 9.10) just before ubuntu starts loading. So sometime between BIOS and before ubuntu starts loading. Once it shows the menu, again select earlier kernel to boot.

    Once in ubuntu you can even remove the most recent kernel.
    Darko.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64bit & Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

  4. #4
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    May 2007
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    Washington, DC
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    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Is allowing Ubuntu to install updates normally a BIG mistake?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelgar View Post
    Is allowing Ubuntu to install updates normally a BIG mistake?
    Depends. Updates can fix a variety of problems that range in severity from crashes to UI glitches.

    You have to think: "am I going to evaluate every update before applying it?". If the answer to that question is "no", you might as well have them applied automatically. Personally, I do that for all my workstations.

    On the other hand, if you manage a large Ubuntu deployment in a corporate enviornment, it makes sense to introduce as little change as possible.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pelgar View Post
    I went to close Firefox and was presented with "You are about to close two tabs" instead of the normal "Do you want Firefox to save your tabs for the next time it starts?"!
    After finally giving up on getting Firefox to remember my current pages, [...]
    Can't help you with your Windows problem, bug http://teck.in/firefox-save-tabs-on-exit.html has the fix for your tabs issue. This wasn't caused by an update.
    This APT has Super Cow Powers.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2010
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    Re: Is allowing Ubuntu to install updates normally a BIG mistake?

    Too Hot, thanks for the prompt reply and Firefox info, I didn't know that. I don't think there was a Firefox dialog open when I went to close it but that problem has cleared itself up now!
    I'm guessing that Kernel updates are somewhat similar to new DOS versions back in the days before Windows, yes I'm an old goat. I learned my lesson on that one when I upgraded to DOS 4 as soon as it came out. It totally wiped my hard drive out, as it did for a lot of people. My rule of thumb on new operating systems or versions, since then, has been to let them stabilize for at least a year before installing. That is the reason there is not and has not been a Vista box here, heard a lot more bad about than good!
    I will remember to uncheck new kernel updates in the future, thank you!

    darkod, I am not dual booting but I do have a grub menu at boot. I have two hard drives in my Linux box and have Ubuntu installed on both of them. I use one just for testing out new things I feel may screw up the system. I have a new thing to add to that list now!!!
    I had no idea that I could boot into the old kernel though, thank you very much. I may even see if I can roll back to the previous kernel but will play with this one a while yet. It is good to know it can be done.

    lfaraone, I currently only have one Ubuntu box but I'm liking it better all the time, most of the time at least. Thanks for the link to the Firefox bug fix, it's odd that I have never ran across it until after this mornings update.
    I will be a bit more cautious with updates in the future.

    Thanks you all!!!

  6. #6
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    Re: Is allowing Ubuntu to install updates normally a BIG mistake?

    just to remind you that linux keeps more than one kernel in the boot menu for situations like these. If you dual boot, you are presented with grub menu at start. Instead of letting the default, most recent kernel load, just select an earlier one that worked fine.
    darkod, if you are still around a little clarification would really be helpful. I've never paid much attention to those kernels in the grub menu before, honestly didn't even know they were kernels, I am slowly getting there. It appears that today's upgrade was not my first kernel update. I have 2.6.31.14-generic, 2.6.31.17-generic and 2.6.31.19-generic in the grub menu. I have tried them all and was a bit surprised. The only one that does not pop up an error on boot is the latest! The error is "Failed to load the NVIDIA kernel module! The error has gone in 2.6.31.19 since I reinstalled the Nvidia drivers.
    I can only access my Windows network when I boot in 2.6.31.19 now too. I finally fixed the network problem there by implementing step 3 in dmizer's Network Tutor.

    I would really like to know if you or anyone else for that matter, thinks that my Nvidia and Network problems starting today were simply coincidence or did the kernel update do this?
    I'm really scratching my head now and I don't have enough hair left that I can afford to scratch any off!

  7. #7
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    Sep 2008
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    Re: Is allowing Ubuntu to install updates normally a BIG mistake?

    Your problem stems from the fact that you installed third party video drivers that were designed to work only with your previous kernel. If you had not installed these, the kernel update would not likely caused you any problems, at least with respect to your display.

    If you're going to use Nvidia's drivers, be cautious with kernel updates and familiarize yourself with booting up without a GUI and know what to do if this happens again. It gets easier each time you deal with it and while it seems like a big deal for a new user, it's really not that hard to fix once you've done it a few times.

    And if you don't want to have to deal with it again, just stick with the stock Ubuntu drivers and kernel updates won't cause these kind of problems.

  8. #8
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    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Is allowing Ubuntu to install updates normally a BIG mistake?

    I don't let Ubuntu install my updates. I get rid of all that automatic stuff and I go to Synaptic and update what and when I want to. I've seen a few too many horror stories about Ubuntu updates messing things up.

  9. #9
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    Re: Is allowing Ubuntu to install updates normally a BIG mistake?

    2hot6ft2 said:
    See the threads on the 2.6.31-19 kernel update which is causing some problems (which is probably what happened to you)
    I would really like to see these threads! Unfortunately I have not figured out how to find them. A search for 2.6.31-19 brings up zero results. Even using Yahoo with 2.6.31-19 site:ubuntuforums.org brings up nothing! Forcing an exact string search, "2.6.31-19 kernel update" site:ubuntuforums.org, still brings up zero results. I'm now at a total loss on this!

    ifaraone said:
    Depends. Updates can fix a variety of problems that range in severity from crashes to UI glitches.
    I'm betting there is some way to find out what these updates are about. Maybe even get some clues as to what they are fixing or even what they are about to do to my computer. If anyone could point me to where this information can be obtained I'd be most grateful.

    ifaraone said:
    You have to think: "am I going to evaluate every update before applying it?". If the answer to that question is "no", you might as well have them applied automatically. Personally, I do that for all my workstations.
    Before yesterdays fiasco I would have probably agreed with you. I will be looking updates over very carefully from now on. To be honest I'm leaning more toward turning updates completely off.

    ifaraone said:
    Can't help you with your Windows problem, bug http://teck.in/firefox-save-tabs-on-exit.html has the fix for your tabs issue. This wasn't caused by an update.
    That site is just telling you how to get Firefox to display the options dialog again if you have checked the "Don't ask me again" box. I have not checked that button, I really like to be asked about keeping tabs when Firefox closes. Sometimes I want them back, sometimes not.

    foresthill said:
    Your problem stems from the fact that you installed third party video drivers that were designed to work only with your previous kernel.
    I spent a couple of hours trying to confirm this at http://www.nvidia.com, where I downloaded my drivers. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not disputing your word but I simply cannot find anything that even implies the drivers are kernel specific! Reinstalling the exact same drivers fixed the problem! I didn't download new ones for the new kernel. This statement is very confusing to me.

    foresthill said:
    And if you don't want to have to deal with it again, just stick with the stock Ubuntu drivers and kernel updates won't cause these kind of problems.
    I have spent several hours trying to find out how to do just that. I originally installed the Nvidia drivers because I was having problems getting Video out through the S-Video output. Now that I have that working with the Nvidia proprietary drivers I'd really like to go back and see if I could make it happen with the stock drivers. I have no idea how to get them back and have had no luck finding out how.

    malspa said:
    I don't let Ubuntu install my updates. I get rid of all that automatic stuff and I go to Synaptic and update what and when I want to. I've seen a few too many horror stories about Ubuntu updates messing things up.
    I'm really leaning towards a similar approach. If/when I find out how to make some informed decisions.

    All of your responses are greatly appreciated.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Is allowing Ubuntu to install updates normally a BIG mistake?

    I'm not that experienced with drivers and in fact ubuntu, but here is my humble opinion:
    The drivers you used would never be kernel specific. But just the fact they are from "outside ubuntu" makes it impossible for a kernel update to include them in the newer kernel too. So after you install them again all is good, but until you do, they're not there and not working.
    Drivers that are within ubuntu would have no problems being in the updated kernel too.
    That's my logic if it makes any sense.

    Having said that, I actually had to compile and install a driver for mu usb wi-fi adaptor myself, to make it work at max speed. And with all kernel updates since, I never had to reinstall them again. But this might be because the drivers were not available as a ready file, I actually had to compile them myself, hence they would be within ubuntu and kernel update will just keep using them correctly.
    Again, this is my understanding which might not be true at all.
    Darko.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64bit & Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

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