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Updating Fedora: best practice

asked 2016-04-21 02:25:01 -0500

thingummybob gravatar image

Just to be crystal clear - as there are other questions here that refer to some of the same issues without having entirely answered my question:

A recent reply elsewhere it was suggested that I avoid installing anything using "packagekit" and to stick to using dnf only and thereby avoid problems about how packages are marked, handling removals etc.

It's not entirely clear to me yet: by "gnome software" to presently 'avoid' on Fedora, does this mean not only "packages" (the little brown boxes icon) but also "software" - the default graphical installer??

I've now reinstalled Fedora for the fifth time (!) and while all my earlier software woes have indeed been corrected, I'm determined to keep things running as smoothly as possible. I note that, for example, this morning I boot up, run

$ sudo dnf update

which checks and downloads a cache for "Fedora 23 - x86_64 - Updates" only and then tells me

"dependencies resolved. Nothing to do"

As soon as this happens, a notification appears in my top bar saying "important software updates"

It's presently unclear what I should be avoiding or not. Rather than respond to the notification I've instead done a "dnf clean all" and now entirely re-synced the repository data etc. While this might be current "best practice", this seems an extraordinarily backward way of maintaining something as otherwise polished as Fedora - despite that "in one or two versions' time" someone may have resolved this issue (or not)

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answered 2016-04-21 08:08:07 -0500

Pilgrim gravatar image

The issue with Gnome software is the following:

  • On installing the package it is not marked as manually installed for dnf, so should you try to run autoremove to get rid of unwanted packages, the dnf will try to remove all the packages, that you installed from gnome software. To go around the issue you can do the dnf mark %package% so that dnf treats them as manually installed and doesn't try to uninstall them
  • On updating, gnome-software treats all updates as ones requiring upgrades, so it tries to make you reboot your machine even then the upgrade is for Firefox or Libreoffice, which some might find rather tedious

So all in all, I'd advise to stick to dnf --refresh upgrade (please note that update is deprecated) and let gnome-software to work out it's quirks. Or, better yet, file a bug with a description, or comment on an existing one.

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Little remark. The reason why Gnome Software may already show you updates, while dnf does not, is that they not use the same metadata. Meaning gnome-software could have updates its metadata very recently while dnf hasn't done it since the updates where pushed to the repositories. As @Pilgrim says --refresh will fix it.

florian gravatar imageflorian ( 2016-04-21 08:58:29 -0500 )edit

Thanks to both of you - very helpful. Leaving aside the (frankly) ridiculous situation this is, very helpful to have this fuller understanding. I wasn't even aware that "update" had been deprecated. When did that happen?! So much for reading the Fedora docs! Anyway, hopefully all will now be well while these issues get fixed :0)

thingummybob gravatar imagethingummybob ( 2016-04-21 11:29:04 -0500 )edit

If you are looking for something graphical, you may want to try yumex-dnf, a graphical package manager that uses the same database as dnf. (dnf info yumex-dnf).

update: Don't know when exactly is happened but update is still an alias for upgrade and will probably work for some time. It's documented: man dnf.

florian gravatar imageflorian ( 2016-04-21 14:42:20 -0500 )edit

Thanks but I don't need a gui. I'm comfortable with bash, and in fact find it easier/more helpful than a gui. My question really was all about clearing up the how, what and where of best practice in terms of keeping things up to date. The tl;dr for which seems to be: Use the terminal/dnf and DON'T touch any gnome stuff until someone fixes it.

thingummybob gravatar imagethingummybob ( 2016-04-21 18:47:42 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2016-04-21 02:25:01 -0500

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Last updated: Apr 21 '16