Update your computer. (if you're running Mint, that is)

A friendly word from Clem, for everybody using Mint.

I’ve read somewhere that it seems that Mint is going the Microsoft route in forcing updates on it’s users.
That raises the question: an update can’t be that bad?
I consider it to be necessary. (if you’re running ms, you’re sometimes hosed, i know), but i’ve never had any problems with updates in Mint.
But your mileage may vary.

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I consider this a bad decision. Some of us have come to Linux so that we can have a choice and some level of control over our OS. This should have been an option instead of being forced upon it’s users.

I might have read over something by mistake but I didn’t see anything about forcing automatic updates on anyone. The article recommended thinking about it if you yourself don’t manually update frequently.
The important part is that a lot of people are using end-of-life versions of Mint. I can only applaud this article as a well written article on keeping your Mint system up to date and safe.
(Even if I have absolutely no use for it since I don’t run Mint myself)

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I read the blog-post in full too. It doesn’t have a forceful tone, to my mind, but it does strongly encourage moving away from EOL versions, which I think is a very reasonable step!

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This came out very shortly after all the commotion about the SUDO vulnerability. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence to me.

There’s nothing forceful about it. I think a lot of the Mint user base are non-technical or geeky and in the absence of Windows forcefully updating itself, they probably don’t even think about updating. It’s just something that was done whether they liked it or not on other operating systems. For a lot of people, they expect technology to hold their hand and probably imagine their system is updating itself somehow already.

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I have always said that computer operating systems are like the automotive industry:

1.) Mac - (Like a Ferrari!) You can have a wonderful streamlined user experience, as long as you drive on apple-approved roads, use apple gas, apply a wide variety of apple-blessed upgrades or modifications (within reason)… but should you ever need to repair it, only an apple-authorized mechanic can look at it, lest you void your warranty. And for the low-low price of THREE of the competitors cars, you can have this privilege. (The car keys resemble a pair of handcuffs… er, iChains, as we like to call them.) CAUTION: It can be possible to update your vehicle completely beyond what the physical limitations of hardware, thus rendering it useless, and prompting you to simply re-purchase a newer model. This has happened to its users.

2.) Windows - (Like a Ford/Chevy) - Upgrading is no problem! Everyone makes a part that can be made to fit. It runs well, for the most part, and is quite popular. Updates are free, but a bit strange. The mechanics will actually hijack your car (regardless of it you are currently using it) and leave you and your family stranded on the side of the road while they take it back to their shop to PREPARE to work on it. Then they will ORDER the parts they need. Then they will Start it back up and ACTUALLY work on it. Then they will shut it back down just to restart it again. Then they will let you know its ready for you to come pickup… and you’ll have to start all over again to get to where ever you left off.
… and this is a FEATURE!

3.) Linux - (Reminds me of a Jeep.) The entire thing can be taken apart and reviewed with a Phillips screwdriver and a socket set. You can literally build one from the ground up by ordering parts, or there are so many models to choose from, that all basically do the same thing a slightly different way, and each can do something a little more special than the other ones. They go practically anywhere. They do almost anything. When they break down, everyone pitches it to help get it back up and running. (Or turn it back over, when needed :stuck_out_tongue: ).
Add-ons are everywhere. Most add-ons of other vehicles can be bolted on somehow and somewhere. And the people who drive them seem to identify themselves as JEEP people.

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I’m pretty sure Terry Davis used to call Linux a Semi-Truck. Not in a good way though haha!

It would be interesting to know where. In the blog post there is nothing that indicates that.

Yes, people should update every OS!!! I think @MichaelTunnell mentioned it in a video that Mint itself is probably guilty itself that some of its users are not updating regularly because of the rather strange update manager they used in the past with a pretty useless scale (from 1 to 5) of important, less important and even “dangerous” (?) updates.

But you know what? Sometimes I am still forced to update my wife’s laptop running Debian even though I installed an update notifier. Some people just assume updates or rather security patches are not that important.

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Security? I’ve never been hacked before, I don’t need those security updates! <opens Chrome…>

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The only reason you are not updating your computer (or any computing device for that matter) is that it isnt connected to the internet and posing a hazard to everything in the network.

I am all for auto updates (especially security updates). Feature updates could be put on hold, depending on the users preference. Generally, if the security patch and feature upgrade patch comes in the same package, you should auto update still.

Unless joining the internet background noise of botnet is acceptable to you.

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I found it:


I remember those days when the updates came with a number. I never paid attention to the numbers, just did the updates. I can’t say it ever failed me.

Now, with the option of auto updates, it comes with a warning that you should have timeshift set up. Just in case an update borks something.

I think it’s fine. I have timeshift running and auto updates selected. Let’s see what will happen.

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Thank you for the info and I really had to navigate to find the original source in all those links, the Linux Mint blog.
There are some changes coming but nothing that I think is worrying and the comparisons to Windows by some commenters are just ridiculous.

Ubuntu is already using unattended-upgrades, a Debian package and Debian itself installs it by default since version 10 or 9, a package that is not installed in Linux Mint itself. Ubuntu already takes care of your security updates unless you change something explicitly in its update manager, as far as I know.

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In some cases the Update Manager will be able to remind you to apply updates. In a few of them it might even insist. We don’t want it to be dumb and get in your way though. It’s here to help. If you are handling things your way, it will detect smart patterns and usages. It will also be configurable and let you change the way it’s set up.

We have key principles at Linux Mint. One of them is that this is your computer, not ours. We also have many use cases in mind and don’t want to make Linux Mint harder to use for any of them.

The text is written in a way that could be interpreted in a couple of ways. I read it as still having a way to not use the stock update scheme or maybe even turn the function of totally. That would just mean different default values and you should check if the default work for you anyway.

Good point. Aside from no internet access, I might also add that I could potentially see:

  • someone needing a particular version of a program
  • needing a particular program that was supported and setup in an older version of Linux, and updating/upgrading could potentially remove this older program. (example: Agave - the color palette program)

I believe Clem’s metrics are mostly based upon Firefox’s default homepage. (Mint had a custom search engine homepage with the code name of their Mint version in the address bar.) My understanding is the number of browsers accessing these particular pages is what generates the 17.3, 18.1, 20.1 etc. etc. numbers.

I may have been a bit at fault for throwing some of these metrics off, as when I migrated to newer versions of Mint, I just took my Firefox profile along with me (to keep my bookmarks/passwords/logins etc). My start page was still 17.1 for the past how-ever-many years!!! Ooops!! :-s

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