"Additional drivers" tab doesn't work when Software Sources was launched by synaptic

Bug #1076832 reported by Alistair Buxton
This bug affects 3 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
software-properties (Ubuntu)
synaptic (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

software-properties-gtk 0.92.9, Ubuntu 12.10

1. Install synaptic and run it
2. Click Settings->repositories
3. Click "Additional software" tab
4. Attempt to change to a different driver.

Expected result: The driver gets installed.

Actual result: Operation never completes.

Analysis: This happens because Software Sources is waiting on Synaptic to exit before performing apt commands. But Synaptic is itself waiting on Software Sources to exit, and you can't close Synaptic before this happens because it's UI is disabled.

There is no message telling the user that this is what has happened, so just as with the automatic U1 installer, the user does not know they need to close other package managers before the process will complete. So they are just left waiting forever. Of course in this case it is impossible for the user to unlock the package db without closing everything down and starting over.

<https://wiki.ubuntu.com/SoftwareAndUpdatesSettings#drivers>: "If you choose 'Apply Changes' ... The 'proprietary drivers in use' text should change to the status text for the operations (for example, 'Waiting for other tasks to complete…'...)"

<https://wiki.ubuntu.com/SoftwarePackageOperations#general>: "If apt (/var/lib/apt/lists/lock) or dpkg (/var/lib/dpkg/lock) is locked by something other than aptdaemon (STATUS_WAITING_LOCK) for more than 30 seconds, an alert should appear once, '{requesting application} can’t install or remove software until {locking program} exits.', with 'Cancel' and 'Keep Waiting' buttons."

Revision history for this message
Alistair Buxton (a-j-buxton) wrote :
Robert Roth (evfool)
Changed in software-properties (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
importance: Undecided → Medium
Revision history for this message
Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

This is similar to bug 1058070. It might be reasonable for Synaptic to make Software Sources modal to it, if it was the only access point for Software Sources. But it is not. It has to be able to handle people making changes in Software Sources when that is opened from Ubuntu Software Center, Software Updater, or System Settings. In the same way, it should handle people making changes even when Software Sources is launched from Synaptic itself.

Separately, Software Sources should explain that it can't make changes when *anything* has locked apt, not just Synaptic.

Revision history for this message
Robert Roth (evfool) wrote :

The cause for me seems that synaptic is locking the package repository on start, but it should only lock it only when it is installing/updating/removing something. If that would be the case, the Additional Drivers tab could be displayed without having to wait for synaptic to exit.

Changed in synaptic (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Alistair Buxton (a-j-buxton) wrote :

You're both right. :)

Revision history for this message
Adam Dingle (adam-yorba) wrote :

I was recently burned by this too. I had actually launched Software Properties separately from Synaptic, but Synaptic was still running (and minimized) and so installing a driver hung.

Changed in software-properties (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt)
status: Confirmed → In Progress
Revision history for this message
Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

I've addressed a small part of this in the design specification for the "Software & Updates" settings: it should use the standard aptdaemon status text and error handling. So if Synaptic has locked apt or dpkg, the status text should be "Waiting for other tasks to complete…", and if it's still locked after 30 seconds, an alert explaining that "System Settings can’t install or remove software until synaptic exits.". (I don't know whether this alert is actually implemented in aptdaemon yet.)

I'm not concerned with the design of Synaptic, but Robert's suggestion makes sense to me.

Changed in software-properties (Ubuntu):
assignee: Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) → nobody
status: In Progress → Triaged
description: updated
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