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stoolpigeon's Journal: PackageKit and Apper

Journal by stoolpigeon

Fedora has yum for installing packages and I am a big fan. In front of yum is PackageKit. PackageKit checks for updates and does some work on my behalf. As I use KDE - the gui provided for interacting with PackageKit is Apper. Apper has been around for a long time and it's a nice way to look for packages and software that I might want. I like to browse through it sometimes and see what is up. When it installs updates for me it lets me know if I need to log out or reboot for everything to be in effect.
 
The down side is that Apper absolutely sucks at letting me know what is going on. During a normal update what it presents as information to the user is usually completely disconnecting from what is actually happening. It will, for example, say it is downloading and sit at 10% for a long time and then suddenly jump to cleaning up and some much higher percentage. If there is a problem it will fail without really giving any meaningful feedback on what went wrong.
 
It's interesting because I would assume the point is to make it easier for people but in reality it does just the opposite. I really need to stop using it for updates and stick to only using yum from the command line. If I open up console and run a 'yum update' I get constant feedback of exactly what is happening. I never have the issues I have with apper. If it fails it tells me why and often gives me very useful suggestions on what to do to fix things. I love yum and how friendly it is. Apper on the other hand is just a way to cause myself grief.
 
I'm thinking about this especially today because it made my morning difficult. I haven't been in the office in quite a while. I knew I'd have a lot of updates waiting for my desktop system. Sure enough the little notifier icon was there. Now - I didn't initiate the updates from there. KDE now has a little panel widget that will let you start updates without opening apper up - but it sucks too. It gets ahead of itself and tells you that you need to log out/reboot before the updates are even all applied. So when I see the icon there, I just opened apper to the updates tab. I looked over what was available and told it to start.
 
It chugged along for quite a while and ultimately just sat there - doing nothing that I could tell. There was no disk activity - I couldn't see anything going on but it hadn't finished either. Eventually I killed it and restarted the machine as there was a kernel update.
 
Well - that created quite a mess. With yum I was eventually able to get it all cleaned up. I had some duplicate packages, some unfinished transactions and some other nonsense. So as I said, my new promise to myself is that all future updates take place in bash with yum.

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PackageKit and Apper

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