Fedora updates getting more like Windows every day

Patrick O'Callaghan pocallaghan at gmail.com
Mon Aug 23 14:18:21 UTC 2010

On Mon, 2010-08-23 at 00:40 -0700, Brian Mury wrote:
> On Mon, 2010-08-23 at 14:37 +0930, Tim wrote:
> > At least, with us, you generally only have to reboot to use the
> update.
> > You can stay on the prior one, in the meantime.  Unlike Windows,
> which
> > often has to reboot, you can't keep on using the computer, or other
> > things won't install until you reboot.
> I often keep using Windows after installing updates, postponing a
> reboot
> until it is convenient. Never had a problem (not in recent memory
> anyways - with the more recent versions of Windows - 2000 through 7).

Until you reboot, some updates are not installed, they're just sitting
there in a disabled state. It's the reboot process that commits the

Although I haven't investigated it in detail, I suspect that this is
because of a fundamental design limitation of Windows. On Unix-like
systems a file can be deleted while still in use, and any processes that
haven't closed it just keep on using it with no problem. Windows doesn't
allow this, so the update can't actually install the new files
(including new executables) until every process using them has stopped.
The easiest way to do this is to reboot.

OTOH on Unix the updated files (and executables) are completely
installed. Any existing processes that use them will at some point have
to be restarted (see the needs-restarting app already mentioned) but
that can be done as needed.

The more you think about it, the smarter the Unix file access model
looks. Ken Thompson is a smart guy and the use of inodes to disconnect
directory entries from the files they refer to is one of the smartest
things he ever did :-)


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