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Upgrades requiring a reboot on Linux? At last!














Gergely Polonkai

I’ve recently received an article on Google+ about Fedora’s new idea: package upgrades that require a reboot. The article said that Linux guys have lost their primary adoo: “Haha! I don’t have to reboot my system to install system upgrades!” My answer was always this: “Well, actually you should…”

I think this can be a great idea if distros implement it well. PackageKit was a good first step on this road. That software could easily solve such an issue. However, it is sooo easy to do it wrong. The kernel, of course, can not be upgraded online (or could it be? I have some theories on this subject, wonder if it can be implemented…), but other packages are much different. From the users’ point of view the best would be if the packages would be upgraded in the background seemlessly. E.g. PackageKit should check if the given executable is running. If not, it should upgrade it, while notifying the user like “Hey dude, don’t start Anjuta now, I’m upgrading it!”, or simply denying to start it. Libraries are a bit different, as PackageKit should check if any running executables are using the library. Meanwhile, PK should also keep a notification somewhere telling the users that some packages could be upgraded, but without stopping this-and-that, it can not be done.

I know these things are easier said than done. But I think (a) users should tell such ideas to the developers and (b) developers (mostly large companies, like Microsoft or Apple) should listen to them, and at least think of these ideas. Some users are not as stupid as they think…