Tuesday, January 24, 2012

At Work with Linux: A Failure to Update OpenSUSE 12.1

Back in early December I installed OpenSUSE 12.1 as a VMware virtual machine hosted on Windows 2008. At that time I'd written that I'd installed Chrome from the Google repository, and wondered if it would automatically and independently update like it did for all the other distributions I'd installed the Google version on. As fortune would have it I was overwhelmed with end-of-the-year work and the holidays, and forgot all about it. Then, every so innocently, someone asked in the comments of the December post if Chrome had auto-updated. So I went back into the lab, fired up the VM, and decided to check and see if the installation would update, and what parts would update.

The update started off automatically and innocently enough. Because the VM had been off since I finished the installation, there were some sixty-plus updates sitting in the queue.


Which, when expanded, showed "132 packages to install" and "110 packages to update". Hidden in plain site was a checkbox; "Do not confirm when installing or updating additional packages." I did not check this box, and I have a feeling that it was responsible for what was about to happen to me.


One of the annoyances of the update is the fact that it required my authorization, which is fine. However, the authorization dialog appeared behind the update window. I didn't see it until I touched the window with the cursor, and the window because transparent enough to show me it was sitting behind it. That's one of the nicer features of KDE 4. After entering my password to authorize the update, then the really bad part of the update started.



I started to get a continuous stream of warning dialogs telling me the package was unsigned and asking if I wanted to install this, because all sorts of horrible things might just happen if I did. This, of course, raised all sorts of questions and observations:
  • Why was I getting unsigned packages? I was getting this dialog for just about every package.
  • Why didn't the dialog tell me what package it was complaining about?
  • There was no global escape button on this dialog. Once this started I couldn't find any way to shut it up or shut it down.
I put up with this bad behavior for some fifteen minutes, clicking the 'Yes' button the whole time, until I got tired of it and just shut down the VM. I'm not going to be in the office until Friday, and when I get back I intend to just delete this instance and forget about OpenSUSE. I've got other working distributions that do what I need.

This is 2012, folks. This should not be happening with any Linux distribution, let alone OpenSUSE. It seems like this release has been star-crossed from the start. If anyone reading this is having a better time of it, I'm glad to hear it, but I'm not. I don't need a lecture or steps that might fix the problem. This either works as you would expect out of the box, or it doesn't. And if it doesn't then I'll stick with those Linux distributions in the lab that do. I've got plenty to choose from already.

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