Engineering Software, Linux, and Operations. The website of Jack Neely.    

Auto Updates

  July 20, 2006   Operations

So I have been informed that I have lost the battle for keeping auto updates turned on. I don’t quite think so, but that’s what I’ve been told. A co-worker’s workstation crashed a few days back and this morning GTK started doing weird things like not being able to understand PNG images. After verifying the PNG libraries were valid I was not able to figure out what was causing problems and my friend decided just to reinstall his workstation. Its sucky. Mess like that has happened to me too.

I really do not know what might have caused the above although apparently this boils down to our servers shouldn’t blindly automatically apply updates. This bothers me no end. I will maintain that the man power required to correct problems caused by bad updates are significantly less than our other options. Its been suggested that new updates should be tested or certified and then pushed out to our clients/servers at a defined time. That is not a statement I can disagree with.

However, with who’s man hours do we test new packages from Red Hat’s updates? Who documents the testing procedures for each update? How can one person verify that update foo will not screw over a badly configured server? Not to mention completely restructuring RHN and all registered machines to cope with this type of policy.

Folks, automatic updates every night is a good thing. It causes much less pain than other methods. Even more so when only one person supports the linux infrastructure of a large university. Using Red Hat’s packages rather than building your own saves time for the same reasons. Let’s be sane about this.

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