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Linux Mint want to remind you to run updates

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In a fresh blog post, Linux Mint's leader Clem Lefebvre has written about some statistics on people running out of date software and warned people to ensure they're running updates.

While Linux users often claim they know what they're doing, they're smarter than Windows users and more (I've seen a lot of claims over the years…) plenty still seem to delay or just not run updates it seems. When you hear about new security problems all the time, it's never been more important to stay up to date. Especially your web browser, the last thing you want is to have that and your entire online life compromised!

In the post Lefebvre mentions that only around 30% of users updated their web browser in less than a week, although perhaps much more alarming is that between "5% and 30% of users run Linux Mint 17.x" which has not seen security updates for two years since it reached EOL (end of life).

0% of users should run Linux Mint 17.x! Anything above is not good, whether it’s 5% or 30%.

The actual statistics they have should be taken with your usual pinch of salt, as they vary depending on where you look but either way it's a big reminder to ensure your computers are up to date. Just being on Linux doesn't make you suddenly secure - remember that.

Perhaps it's not surprising though, with Linux Mint often recommended to complete newbies and older users trying out Linux. If you have done a setup for a friend or family member, perhaps give them a nudge about running updates eh?

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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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TheSHEEEP Feb 22, 2021
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Quoting: RoosterWhat if we will find out that most not up to date computers are actually run by tech-profound users who willingly choose not to run updates.
Whenever we find that out, I'm certain we will also find out the location of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Quoting: CatKiller
Quoting: RoosterAt first we will be like.. Let's just force updates for non tech users.
It's only you that's talking about forcing updates. I'm just saying to enable automatic updates by default to help those that wouldn't be able to enable automatic updates by themselves.
I'm talking about forcing updates - it's not like there isn't precedence for this, OSX does it, most mobile OSs, Windows does it. There's very obviously merit to it or it wouldn't be done.
The question is really not if it is done, but how - obnoxious like Windows goes about it with stuff regularly breaking in updates. sudden restarts and the PC being practically unusable while the update is downloading/installing... or something better than that?

Anyway, a default of automatic updates would solve the problem almost as efficiently as forcing would.
Maybe with a message of "Don't worry, this isn't Windows. You can use your PC just fine while updates are installing."
Purple Library Guy Feb 22, 2021
Quoting: PublicNuisanceThe majority of humans are dumb. Shocking. Most people are too lazy to even perform basic maintenance on their car let alone their computer. Gotta clear that Netflix backlog first, they'll update later.
Computers are way easier to do basic maintenance on than cars, especially these days with how locked down cars have become. Unless you're just talking about putting in a bit of oil (which I no longer need to do with my electric car).
Purple Library Guy Feb 22, 2021
Automatic updates are not terrible, but as a not-particularly-techy user I do prefer to choose when I'm gonna do updates, just because they take up bandwidth and there are fairly often times when I want all my capacity for e.g. a meeting, or downloading something different, or whatever. And there are times when my internet connection seems to get a bit wonky and I don't want to update then because my experience is that when updating dies halfway through there's a definite chance the updater will get fucked up.

Automatic updates block me from that decision about when I think it's best, and worst, to do it. So yeah, I don't know enough to have much idea what updates I should apply, but I do have some opinions about when I want to run the process.
tonR Feb 22, 2021
Default weekly or monthly automatic update with easy opt-out option : Yes
Forced update : No

We must avoid making more fragmentation in Linux at all cost. Just look at the Android ecosystem. Hell, there is even a brand new, not mainstream brand devices which still comes with Android 5.1 because some users hated to use Android Go.
Botonoski Feb 23, 2021
I can say for certain that I'm not smarter than a Windows user. People in my social circles often think I'm all smart 'cause I know how to use Linux but frankly even though I've been using it consistently for around a decade it still feels a bit like I'm entering minefield any time I open up that terminal.
Like I broke my video drivers the other week by installing the android sdk, why did that happen? I don't know, something involving dkms and my kernel updating maybe, I don't know, I wasn't paying attention to the terminal output at the time, linux is scary.
Though I am thankful it was fixable with some finagling and basic knowledge. I remember in the XP days I'd have to nuke and reinstall Windows maybe around twice a year as that was the only practical way to fix a lot of the technical issues I tended to have.

Last edited by Botonoski on 23 February 2021 at 7:14 am UTC
drmoth Feb 23, 2021
I have installed Linux Mint on my mother's PC (I don't use Mint, but it looks Windowsy enough to keep her happy), time to update her laptop it seems!
Whitewolfe80 Feb 23, 2021
Quoting: Whitewolfe80mmmm but that does kind of defeat one of the main features of linux choice.
I assume this was a reply to what I wrote?

In that case: How so?

because if you force updates thats not choice thats the os dictacting what i do.
Draconicrose Feb 23, 2021
Linux Mint updates are pretty stable. I see no reason not to have auto-updates enabled by default, with a way to turn them off. As for version updates, they are pretty subtle if you're not looking for them. Maybe there could be an app that pops up a window once there is a new version of the OS?
tuubi Feb 23, 2021
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Quoting: DraconicroseMaybe there could be an app that pops up a window once there is a new version of the OS?
Mintreport and its system tray applet do pretty much what you want. But I guess the tray icon is easy to ignore.
Purple Library Guy Feb 23, 2021
Quoting: tuubi
Quoting: DraconicroseMaybe there could be an app that pops up a window once there is a new version of the OS?
Mintreport and its system tray applet do pretty much what you want. But I guess the tray icon is easy to ignore.
The latest version might be a bit of an own goal on that front. Used to be, the little shield-shaped thingie would turn colour when it wanted more updates. Fairly noticeable shift, the whole icon would turn red. And I think it was green or blue when it was all up to date. Just now looked down at the icon; the current version is always white and when it wants you to update it just puts a little extra bob, a little orange something-or-other, at the bottom left of the shield icon, covering less than a quarter of it. Doesn't exactly pull the eye, I'm pretty sure I've tended to update less often since I installed the new version.
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