Yum: the dreaded metadata disease

Timothy Murphy tim at birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie
Tue Dec 18 14:05:20 UTC 2007

My laptop seems to have contracted the yum disease:

[Errno -1] Metadata file does not match checksum

I googled for this, and it is apparent that this is
a world-wide disease.

IMHO, this error message is VERY BAD.
It may make the yum developer happy,
but it is completely useless to the yum user.

First of all, the term "Metadata file" is incomprehensible to me,
and I suspect to most Fedora users.
Assuming that yum is talking about a specific file,
it would be must simpler if he/she just told me the name of the file,
and its precise location.

[This is a fairly widespread Fedora - probably Linux - failure.
If a program finds something wrong with a file,
it must know where the file is,
and should tell the user in any error message.]

Secondly, if "the checksum" does not match
then it must be comparing the "Metadata file"
with some other file somewhere in the universe.
Why not let us into the secret of where exactly this second file lives?

Thirdly, an error message like this, if it is to be of the slightest use,
should suggest some line of action that the user might take.
Otherwise it is like a doctor telling you
"Your centimenta level is dangerously high".

Fourthly, it seems to me that yum has become subject
to far more of these kinds of problem
than it used to be.
Yum is one of the central features of Fedora,
and it is vital that it should work as reliably as possible.

My strong impression is that the yum developers
have become much too clever,
and are adding far too many nice but not strictly necessary features.
There is a lot to be said for leaving a program that works ok alone.
"If it ain't broke don't improve it."

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