Linux and application installing

FlorianFesti ffesti at
Wed Sep 15 14:38:55 UTC 2010

  While showing the user "applications" instead of packages might be a 
good idea for several use cases I think this approach misses the point 
here. The questions for redesigning the Updater dialog should be:

What's the user supposed to decide and what information does he need to 
do so?

The answer in 99.9% of the cases is either "Run the update now" or "Run 
the update later". Deselecting any packages for update is a rare corner 
case. If it would be an important case yum - or may be even rpm 
would/should/must support version pinning to ignore updates of given 
packages for ever (it's getting off topic here).

So there are two things for the user to weight up: The cost of the 
update and how urgent it is.

To decide how urgent the updates are it is probably sufficient to tell 
the use the most urgent level (bugfix, security fix, enhancement). 
Giving the number of updates and download size per level allows more 
fine grained decisions and whether further looking into the details 
might be worth.

The cost is basically the time, CPU, IO and bandwidth used. It is hard 
to give a good estimation about that, but just giving the download size 
(as a sum) should be good enough for us. Additionally the connectivity 
is important but not so easy to find out automatically. May be the user 
knows how he hooked up his computer - may be we remember the 
connectivity we had while downloading the meta data.

Another important cost is interruption of service. So you should state 
whether a reboot or new login is required or which (currently running) 
applications will require a restart.

So I would suggest an UI that gives a summery (Didn't we already have 
that in the past?) and offers 3 buttons:

[Show/Hide Details] [Do not install updates now] [Install updates now]

The first being a toggle button hiding/showing the current or to be list 
of updates or to be updated applications. Btw. sorting the updates by 
severity and offer a check box by severity (may be using a tree view 
instead of a list) may be another improvement.


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