Reason for required restarts unclear

Bug #39146 reported by Lauri Tirkkonen
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
update-notifier (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

The 'restart required' icon seems to appear much too often for my liking. Worse yet, it doesn't even tell you what package is it that requires restart or have a GUI option to remove the reminder or remind later. Also, to my understanding a kernel upgrade is the only thing that _requires_ restart. It should say 'recommended', explain why and still not appear as often as it does -- I'm not running Windows and I certainly don't want a clone.

description: updated
Revision history for this message
Sitsofe Wheeler (sitsofe) wrote :

This is more than one bug/feature request:

1. Restart icon appears to often(?)
2. Restart icon does not indicate which package(s) initiated the restart request.
3. No option to postpone restart and be asked again after predetermined amount of time.

Just for the record a kernel upgrade is NOT the only thing that can need a restart. If glibc is updated it can be extremely difficult to ensure that all old copies in use are purged without restarting the system. The same goes for any library that is loaded early in the boot process and is used by critical services.

Not restarting after akernel update could well leave your system in a big risk if the exploit is remote (e.g. in a network driver).

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Michael Vogt (mvo) wrote :

I guess we could add a feature to update-notifier to have a (optional) restart reason. i18n is a issue here.

For the records, reboots are required for the kernel, dbus and dbus based applications (like hal).

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Rune Maagensen (rune-maagensen) wrote :

Restarts are only often when running a development version (at the moment dapper). If you running a stable version (breezy at the moment) I'd guess you'd have to restart max once a month.

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Jonathon Conte (thesicktwist) wrote :

I don't think that there is any reason to indicate which component requires the computer to be rebooted. The average home user will be baffled by this superfluous and highly technical information. I agree that the goal to have as few restarts required as possible is indeed important but as Rune has already mentioned, there will undoubtedly be many more reboots required while Dapper is under development than after it has been officially released.

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Manuel Siggen (manuel-siggen) wrote :

Agreed, the notifier balloon is not the best place to put this kind of information. Still, it would be very interesting to know at some stage that installing an upgrade is going to need a system restart.
Maybe the screen where available upgrades are displayed before downloading would be a good place to do so (since it's already filled with technical info) ?

Revision history for this message
towsonu2003 (towsonu2003) wrote :

What if the baloon said: "One of the packages that were upgraded requires you to restart your system for the changes to take effect". This would fix this wishlist?

PS. I don't remember what it currently is saying... sorry :)

Michael Vogt (mvo)
Changed in update-notifier:
status: Unconfirmed → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Aaron Grattafiori (cogitate) wrote :

"Restart required" seems to happen more and more on Hardy. Is Ubuntu trying to make windows users feel more at home?
Update-notifier should provide a more verbose description of *WHY* a reboot is required, which package caused this. Maybe
an option of "Restart the XYZ service" could replace some of these restarts?
See: Bug #45890.

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J Posey (jpo) wrote :

I only worry about the restart required when I have not initiated any upgrade. What is it that could require a restart other than an upgrade explicitly allowed by the user?

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Oliver Gerlich (ogerlich) wrote :

J Posey: I think if you have configured Ubuntu to automatically install updates, you might get a Restart Required notification out of the blue if a kernel update is automatically installed.

Anyway... I agree that for many users it's probably not helpful to display the exact reason for the restart. But is there a way for experienced/interested users to see the reason? Is there maybe a log file where this can be seen later?

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ethanay (ethan-y-us) wrote :

Here's a scenario to consider:

I recently (successfully) switched my mom from Windows to Ubuntu Linux via her new laptop. An update pops up, and she runs it to get the recommended and critical updates. All is well. No restart notification. Then she tries to print a document, and the computer has lost all capability to print. Why? CUPS was updated, and needed a restart. I was able to diagnose this, but that is because I am luckily slightly more computer literate than my mom. In her mind, she had NO IDEA why the "printing suddenly stopped working on Linux." Crap like that happens all the time in Windows (or at least it did with 95, 98, XP and Vista).

We all expect gremlins in the Windows machine, but issues like this make it seem like there are gremlins in the Linux machine as well, when it may just be a lack of communication. I've seen it floating around the net that "Linux doesn't need to be restarted after updates." Which is a half-truth at best. I think Ubuntu needs to become very clear on which components require a restart whenever they are updated, and make sure update-manager or -notifier does its job to tell the user whenever that is the case.

The average user doesn't know how to restart GDM, or hal, or dbus, or CUPS, etc short of rebooting the entire system. Nor should they have to know how, if everything is functioning correctly.

Robert Roth (evfool)
Changed in update-notifier (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Triaged
Revision history for this message
Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

This is fixed in R. The redesigned Software Updater tells you in advance if any of the selected updates have flagged that they will need a restart to finish installing. And if you expand the dialog to reveal the list of updates, it contains a column with an icon for exactly which updates require a restart. If any update requires a restart but does not tell you in advance, please report a bug on that package and tag it "xb-restart-required". <>

If you don't want updates ever to require a restart to finish installing, then work to get KSplice or equivalent integrated into every kernel, glibc, and similar Ubuntu update. It isn't a "Windows ... clone" thing, it's an operating system architecture thing.

Changed in update-notifier (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Michael Terry (mterry)
status: Triaged → Fix Released
Revision history for this message
Michael Terry (mterry) wrote :

mpt, that's not 100% true. We do have the icon column now, but not the text at the bottom of the dialog explaining that a restart will be needed. So I think this should still be open for the nonce.

Changed in update-notifier (Ubuntu):
status: Fix Released → Triaged
Michael Terry (mterry)
Changed in update-notifier (Ubuntu):
assignee: Michael Terry (mterry) → nobody
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