Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-features (38 mails)

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[openFATE 308936] Install defaults to Allow_Kernel_Updates=NO
  • From: fate_noreply@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2010 17:27:25 +0000 (GMT)
  • Message-id: <feature-308936-13@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Feature changed by: Wilson Phillips (Wilson_Phillips)
Feature #308936, revision 13
Title: Install defaults to Allow_Kernel_Updates=NO

openSUSE-11.3: Unconfirmed
Requester: Important

Requested by: Wilson Phillips (wilson_phillips)
Partner organization:

Make the install default with kernel updates off.
Create a  config file with a flag that can be turned on or off, that
must be edited. Inside the file could be all the information needed for
a newbie to do his/her own kernel update without hosing thier system.
Instructions, links to forums, links to video card drivers, etc.
Advanced users could easily edit the file and turn on kernel updates
after the install, but new users would not be blind-sided with a kernel
update that leaves them in panic mode staring at the command prompt
login, and wondering why they had a desktop one minute and a reboot
leaves their system broken. If a new user needs a kernel update, they
can do a little research and find how to edit the file, by the time
they do it, they should have all the information they need to make an
informed decision and be prepared with the tools they need to bring
their system back online properly.

Business case (Partner benefit): We have lost too many new openSUSE users over the years
because they did their updates and did not know that a kernel update
would break their modules. Nothing causes more panic for a newbie than
a reboot that leaves them stuck at the command line interface and
wondering why their system is broken. Too many just do a format and
reinstall of Windows and the last we hear of them is when they post on
the forums that SUSE sucks. For us old techs, this is a small problem
and we know how to fix it, but for the newbie, this is a deal breaker.
We must change our way of looking at these small problems and how they
affect the new inexperienced users. We can not overlook these issues.
We have to make them a priority. How many new users could we keep, if
they never had this problem? Food for thought.

#1: Ricardo Gabriel Berlasso (rgbsuse) (2010-02-03 14:23:53)
Considering that openSUSE kernel updates are only for security patches,
I think this is a bad idea. A proper solution to the real problem
exposed here must come from other sites: the "fall-back driver" idea
expressed on #308935 (308935) is one possibility, but getting the open
source drivers on good shape is even better: most users do not need the
full power of nvidia or ATI proprietary drivers, so making noveau and
co. drivers ready will be the right solution for most, if not all,
problems generated after kernel updates.

#6: Wilson Phillips (wilson_phillips) (2010-02-04 02:50:40) (reply to
But what new user does not want desktop effects? They all want the eye
candy. They get the proprietary drivers working and the next time a
kernel updates they are left with an unworking system. Some of them
come to the forums to ask for help, but many just "Format and
Reinstall," and show up at the forums to make a post stating how bad we
suck. The bad part is that they are right. openSUSE should never have
left their system broken.
This can be fixed and I know it can. It should have been fixed, but
everyone wants someone else to do it. For years, the blame has been
cast at nVidia and ATI, but we have to take resposibility too. For you
and I, this is a molehill. We can easily fix a broken module and move
beyond it in a few minutes, but for the newbies, this is a mountain in
their way.
If we want openSUSE to grow, we have to fix these little problems that
turn new users away in frustration.

#10: Ricardo Gabriel Berlasso (rgbsuse) (2010-02-04 16:52:07) (reply to
What's your definition of "new user"? One that open a root shell and
goes to runlevel 3 to run a script in order to install the latest
nvidia driver or one that just click the "one click install" to enable
the nvidia repository?
For me, a "new user" belongs to the second category, and under that
category there is no problem at all: if the driver is not yet on the
repository when there is a kernel update available, a big enough dialog
will prompt warning about a missing dependency.
Don't get me wrong, I understand and accept that there is a huge
problem here, but I do not accept the proposed solution.

#11: Wilson Phillips (wilson_phillips) (2010-02-04 18:27:50) (reply to
Then help come up with a good solution. This is thought provoking and that
was the intent. I am happy to see discussion about it here. Prove me
wrong or prove me right. I don't care either way. I just want
My definition of a new user is one that has just download and installed
openSUSE and it is his first experience with Linux.

#2: Michal Marek (michal-m) (2010-02-03 14:45:46)
Drivers for nvidia and ati cards are provided as zypp repositories with
KMPs (e.g. for 11.2: and This means that should there be an
incompatible kernel update, users will be warned beforehand. Compatible
updates will just reuse the module. So what group of users is this
feature targeting?

#5: Wilson Phillips (wilson_phillips) (2010-02-04 02:38:35) (reply to
But the new users are not warned. They don't know till their modules are
broken and they are sitting there wondering what happened. I have
volunteered my time in the forums since SuSE 9.1 and the story is
always the same.

#7: Michal Marek (michal-m) (2010-02-04 14:12:36) (reply to #5)
Then the new users should be taught to use the KMPs that are made
available to them, instead of compiling stuff manually. At least for
ATI and NVIDIA, the drivers are available and yast offers to add the
repository during install, not sure how many other gfx cards with
proprietary drivers are out there. Leaving all users vulnerable can't
be meant as a serious answer.

+ #12: Wilson Phillips (wilson_phillips) (2010-02-04 18:29:44) (reply to
+ #7)
+ Who is going to teach them? We normally don't see them until it is too late
+ and they have a broken system. That is usually their first visit to the
+ forums.

#3: Dean Hilkewich (deanjo13) (2010-02-04 00:05:01)
Horrible idea, updates are done for security purposes for a reason.  If
your looking for a solution to modules breaking on a kernel update then
suggest that opensuse starts using dkms.

#4: Wilson Phillips (wilson_phillips) (2010-02-04 02:35:19) (reply to
That was what I thought at first. Think about it a bit and it makes sense.
As I said, this will not prevent anyone from applying kernel updates.
During the install, the flag could be set by asking the user's
expertise level.
This is about keeping the new users and not having them leave out of
frustration and thinking "SUSE sucks." This problem has been overlooked
for years and we need to change the way we look at the simple issues
that can be a deal breaker for the new inexperienced user.
Please remember that most newbies have never even used the command line
in Windows, yet one update can leave them at the command line login
with no clue as to what got them there. This is a problem that should
have been fixed a long time ago, but with more newbies trying Linux, we
need to make it a priority.
I am all for getting DKMS installed as well. This is to get the
developers thinking about the best ways to handle the problem. After a
bit of discussion in the forums, we all feel that it is fixable, but
someone has to get the ball rolling before it will pick up some speed.
That is why I volunteered to make the feature requests. Anyone could
have done it, but no one had.

#8: Ken Yap (ken_yap) (2010-02-04 15:04:12)
At the very least openSUSE should retain the previous version of the
kernel and the GRUB entry so that there is a fallback if things go pear-
shaped. I have always thought it reckless of SUSE to keep only the
latest version of the kernel. Deleting all the old versions also gives
rise to strange bugs like modules not loading until the system is
rebooted which is mysterious until one realises what happened. Now of
course the updater nags the user to reboot as soon as possible.
But still, it's a good idea to have a fallback so that the system can
be repaired. Not everybody is capable of logging in at the CLI and
running zypper to revert the kernel. Which wouldn't work anyway if the
system is using NetworkManager to establish a connection when the GUI
is started.
Is multiversion= in zypp.conf meant to fix this recklessness? Will it
work correctly in 11.3?

#9: Michal Marek (michal-m) (2010-02-04 15:28:31) (reply to #8)
It should work better in 11.3 - you just uncomment this line in
multiversion = provides:multiversion(kernel)
there is still room for improvement (there is no limit on the number of
kernels kept, also if the new kernel breaks a KMP, you won't notice,
because the dependencies are still satisfied by the old kernel), but
IMO provides a solution to the "oh I compiled a driver before and when
I boot the new kernel it doesn't load it" problem. It's off by default

openSUSE Feature:

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