Update manager removes xscreensaver and replaces with gnome-screensaver

Reported by Brian on 2011-05-02
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Software Updater
ubuntu-meta (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

When upgrading releases, the update manager removes xscreensaver, which works, and replaces it with gnome-screensaver, which does not work. Since the upstream maintainer of gnome-screensaver will never make it work correctly, xscreensaver is required for complete functionality. Why does update-manger remove the functional screensaver and replace it with a non-functional package? This is a minor bug, since once the upgrade is complete, gnome-screensaver can be removed and xscreensaver re-installed, but it is an annoyance.

era (era) wrote :

This is hardly a bug in update-manager. The output of "aptitude why gnome-screensaver" on my system indicates that ubuntu-desktop depends on gnome-screensaver. You may be able to work around this by installing a dummy equivs package, or perhaps by setting the status of xscreensaver to "hold". I don't see why your xscreensaver gets removed, though; nothing in ubuntu-desktop or gnome-screensaver appears to declare a conflict. Perhaps you could expand on this (and perhaps also link to a separate bug explaining why you think gnome-screensaver is broken)?

Brian (x-brian) wrote :

gnome-screensaver is broken and will not be fixed:

Bug 22007

From 2005!

So the bug here should be against ubuntu-desktop since it depends on a broken package?

Unity scared me away when I did the upgrade, and I didn't even bother to realize I could still use the old interface, so I restored my imaged Maverick install. I don't think I'll bother with Natty, might even go back to Lucid LTS when I full-disk encrypt with /boot on a USB key. But I thought xscreensaver got removed by the updater. Maybe it just forced gnome-screensaver on me, which is mildly upsetting, and could have caused a false memory.

era (era) wrote :

Thanks for the link, I was vaguely familiar with the criticisms against gnome-screensaver but it's good to have a reference here.

It's probably moot to argue (in this bug) about whether or not ubuntu-desktop should or should not depend on gnome-screensaver, but the fact that you successfully replaced it, and it reverted your preference when you upgraded, is a bug. I'm not sure where it should be properly filed so I'm leaving both tasks open.

(I originally created a second task because there doesn't seem to be a way in Launchpad to reassign from a non-Ubuntu project to a package within the Ubuntu project. Maybe there is a way but if so, I could not discover it.)

For completeness, could you still confirm whether the upgrade actually removed the xscreensaver package from your system, or just replaced your preferences to use gnome-screensaver but left xscreensaver (nominally) installed on your system? The former would be a bug in its own right, but I suspect the case here is the latter.

Brian (x-brian) wrote :

I guess I should respond eventually!

Upgrade does actually remove xscreensaver (the package is gone, the binary is gone, it's gone.), and replaces with it gnome-screensaver.

The xscreensaver preferences stored in ~/.xscreensaver are still there, and when gnome-screensaver is (again) removed and xscreensaver (again) installed, everything is back to where it should be.

Like I said, not a showstopper bug, but awfully annoying to someone who hates gnome-screensaver as much as I do. In fact, it caused me to delay upgrading for probably 3-4 months a while ago, since I wasn't as familiar with Linux, and wasn't sure how hard it would be for me to get xscreensaver back after upgrade.

The whole idea of update-manager is to make updating/upgrading easy, and this threw a wrench in that process for me.

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