Downgrade is the new upgrade
Posted Dec 22, 2011 3:47 UTC (Thu) by jrw
In reply to: Downgrade is the new upgrade
Parent article: Ubuntu disabling the Sun Java JDK browser plugin
> remember that the existing version of java has security holes that are currently being exploited.
After the update broke my java, my research did discover this rationale. However, if I had been given the choice, I would have had no qualms about leaving the active/exploitable security holes in place on my personal desktop, which I keep relatively tight control over, rather than having java removed altogether and losing a critical application.
> So Canonical has the options of leaving it in place and having the desktops hacked, or removing it.
My complaint is with my not being given this choice. Canonical made this choice for me. And consequently broke my system in a way that cost me 3-4 hours to fix at an inconvenient time. Not happy about having to deal with that. Luckily for me, I didn't have an immediate critical need to use Netilla to remote into the servers I am responsible for, or I would have had to drive to the office in the middle of the night.
> the upgrade process doesn't have the ability to do the type of notification that you would like
I'm aware of this, but I'm not happy about it. Using the mechanism they do have available (an upgrade), they deliberately broke my desktop, in a way that had ramifications to me they couldn't possibly have understood. I wrote this post and several others on the ubuntu forums and bugs.launchpad to bring attention to this issue.
> I'll bet that if you were to dig down into the system to see what was upgraded with the new package, it would tell you exactly what was going to happen and why. but nobody bothers to read those details.
If I knew where to find this information, I would read it. If they had provided me a warning, in advance, that I was about to disable part of my system, I would have read it. If they had given me a choice, I would have made the right one for me. For me, a large part of the linux/unix culture is all about choice. I like many things about the way upgrades are handled in Ubuntu, especially how the user is given a meaningful choice about when/if to take an upgrade. But I think they dropped the ball on this one.
Hopefully, Canonical (and other distributions) will improve their tools so that they can offer such a choice in the future. I detailed what I believe is the right way of handling a priori known breakage (give the user an informed, in-your-face, choice). I also noted that some kind of checkpoint system would be very helpful in dealing with updates. I would love to see an auto-checkpoint updating system that allows me to roll back an update. I have had occasion to wish for it several times in the past.
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