You can sign up to get a daily email of our articles, see the Mailing List page.
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. See more here.

System76 patches APT for Pop!_OS to prevent users breaking their systems

By - | Views: 90,584

There's been a huge amount of talk recently about switching to Linux for gaming, thanks to the challenge from Linus Tech Tips (YouTube) where two of their people tried the full-switch but it didn't go so well for Linus and Pop!_OS. Now, System76 are trying to improve.

It was pretty unfortunate that as Linus was going to install Steam, Pop's packaging had some sort of breakage that wasn't quite picked up and Linus ended up hosing the Pop desktop install. You can easily do some finger-pointing on where the real blame lies here from Pop not ensuring a major package like Steam works correctly before it's pushed to users, to Linus ignoring the (what should be) pretty-clear warning message:

Oh no, please, Linus — don't do it! Linus did it.

The point remains the same regardless, and throwing around pointy-fingers isn't really helpful. It shouldn't have happened, it's as simple as that. Loading up the Pop!_Shop GUI and telling it to install Steam should have been enough. Going by what System76 engineer Jeremy Soller said on Twitter, the cause was this:

"For some reason, an i386 version of a package was never published on Launchpad. Steam being an i386 package, when trying to install it, it had to downgrade that package to the Ubuntu version to resolve dependencies, which removed Pop!_OS packages.".

One thing System76 has now done to prevent such almighty breakage in future, is to patch APT (the package manager), in Pop to prevent users being able to see the "Yes, do as I say!" prompt by default. Unless, they add a special file to actually enable it. On top of that, another System76 developer Jacob Kauffmann mentioned on GitHub their plans to "make further improvements" to the Pop!_Shop GUI so that "users don't have to fall back to the terminal in the first place". Sounds like lessons learned, and hopefully smooth sailing for users in future.

Update: a new version of APT brings in its own improvements for this.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
37 Likes
About the author -
author picture
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.
See more from me
The comments on this article are closed.
141 comments
Page: «4/15»
  Go to:

dpanter Nov 10, 2021
PopOS: If you do the thing, I will die.
Linus: *does the thing*
PopOS: *dies*
Linus: Why did it die?!?!?!?!?!

As a Linux (mainly Debian) user for the last two decades at least, I find everything about this immensely frustrating. Linux being Linus was always going to happen. If you're familiar with what and how he does things when left to his own devices, I totally expected him breaking at least one distro. Coupled with the impossibly horrible timing for the PopOS Steam package borking, disaster was unavoidable.

This patch makes me sad. APT isn't at fault here, but because a big Techtuber ignored the dire warnings given and literally pulled the pin out of the grenade, we must now protect users from themselves in the name of The Greater Good? What the hell are we doing...
In my completely dismissible opinion, this sort of forced hand-holding goes against the spirit of Linux and if you like this kind of thing, you may enjoy Apple products or Chromebooks.

Hopefully Debian does not accept this kind of nonsense patch upstream. I can't even imagine the hornets nest such a thing could kick into life.

That said; I still think the first video was decent. I expected so much worse from what Linux and Luke have been discussing on the WAN Show.
F.Ultra Nov 10, 2021
View PC info
  • Supporter
Quoting: scaine
Quoting: phrogpilot73Had he updated Pop first - he would have likely had no problems.

Sadly not the case here. They admitted that a weird 32-bit library issue was inadvertently linked to the "default desktop" package which caused the issue. It would likely have been fixed within a day regardless of Linus stumbling into the issue, but the timing was just incredible and it tripped them up in this case.

My only frustration in Linus' approach here was the irony that he'd have had better luck sticking to the "Windows Way" and just downloading Steam from the SteamPowered website. But one of the core messages for new users of Linux is often "don't do that". Certainly true of drivers at least.

The whole thing is frustrating, tbh. Even if lessons were learned for PopOS, the sad fact is that Linus' viewers have already drawn their conclusions about Linux based on his experience. That video will live forever as a spectacular failure of Linux to engage with a "normal" person. Normal is in quotes there, of course, because a) There wasn't much normality about Linus' set up, and b) Linus is an entertainingly stubborn, impatient and highly critical person. Anyone trying Linux in good faith and with reasonable expectation would have a better experience.

Actually I do think that the package was fixed at the time he made the video, it was just that the faulty package was included on the install ISO so had he updated this would not have happened. Really frustrating is that the GUI actually did show this, the error shown was "This can be a temporary problem so try again later".

While this was a legitimate fault of Pop!_OS and the blame fully lies with them, going by what happened in the video I'm quite sure that Linus was fully aware of what the outcome would be but continued on (aka pretending to be clueless) just to prove a point. AKA I'm not saying that he faked the video, just that he run with an opportunity when it showed itself.

And as a side note, what every one forgets to mention here is that his machine was not bricked, it was just the desktop that where gone and he could have put it back without having to reinstall by some "apt install pop-desktop" or what the package is called on pop. Now compare that with Googling "windows update bricked my computer" which yields over a million hits but still this little incident made all the Windows fanbois all wet.
BielFPs Nov 10, 2021
Quoting: dubigrasuBad timing indeed, sadly what a missed opportunity for Pop!_OS (God!...this name!) to show its value. (as a side note, I felt so vindicated when Linus agreed that it has a "spectacularly stupid name").
I am also one of the people that are bothered with those silly names, "Pop!_OS" and "MariaDB" for example make it looks like those are pet projects made by one person, rather than serious solutions.

How influential is this Linus guy in general (outside US/UK)? I never watched anything from him, but judging by how many people are talking about this video makes me thing that this could unfortunately scary new user out of trying a linux distro (or worse, advocating against it).
x_wing Nov 10, 2021
Quoting: sudoerMeanwhile everything seemed to work fine for him with Manjaro, which he should have chosen from the get-go, because of newest kernels, newest drivers, for newest hardware, taking a hint from Valve having chosen Arch for the same reason.

I just remembered that he end up without sound in his Manjaro install. So no, not even Manjaro is error free (mainly with the weird setup he has in his home).
F.Ultra Nov 10, 2021
View PC info
  • Supporter
Quoting: x_wing
Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: berarmaThis is a distraction move. Where's the news about the Steam package being fixed and the reason it was published without being tested? Because that's the real issue.
A distraction move? No. Where's the news? This is it. I don't follow Pop for such issues personally to know if a package breaks, no one notified us, and now it's all solved so we've reported on it with details that we have.

TBF, the chances of getting into the same full UI removal was fixed but, as I mentioned, we are not sure if packages installation testing was implemented. I mean, it's cool to make it difficult to break the UI but it would be also cool to never get into an scenario were a user can't install a package.

And it should be easily scriptable and AFAIK debbuild by default does these kind of checks so I wonder if they or launchpad have disabled that.
x_wing Nov 10, 2021
Quoting: BielFPsHow influential is this Linus guy in general (outside US/UK)? I never watched anything from him, but judging by how many people are talking about this video makes me thing that this could unfortunately scary new user out of trying a linux distro (or worse, advocating against it).

He is by far the biggest tech youtuber. Linus Sebastian is not exactly a Linux friendly PC user, but in his team he has a guy named Anthony that is an advocate of Linux OS.

Even though his installation went bad, I doubt that any of this videos will give a bad reputation to our OS. The recent coverage of Linux by LTT has helped a lot in order to break many myth around our OS, in fact they probably helped a lot in order to remove the old "Linux is for servers, not gaming" motto.
F.Ultra Nov 10, 2021
View PC info
  • Supporter
Quoting: BielFPs
Quoting: dubigrasuBad timing indeed, sadly what a missed opportunity for Pop!_OS (God!...this name!) to show its value. (as a side note, I felt so vindicated when Linus agreed that it has a "spectacularly stupid name").
I am also one of the people that are bothered with those silly names, "Pop!_OS" and "MariaDB" for example make it looks like those are pet projects made by one person, rather than serious solutions.

How influential is this Linus guy in general (outside US/UK)? I never watched anything from him, but judging by how many people are talking about this video makes me thing that this could unfortunately scary new user out of trying a linux distro (or worse, advocating against it).

The video have 1.1M views and then it was first released on their own paid platform so unable to know how many views it had there.

At least there is one comment thread with over 1024 comments with "wow didn't know linux sucked this hard".
BielFPs Nov 10, 2021
Quoting: dpanterPopOS: If you do the thing, I will die.
Linus: *does the thing*
PopOS: *dies*
Linus: Why did it die?!?!?!?!?!

Spoiler, click me

-when were you when gnome dies?
-i was sat at Pop!_OS installing stem when apt ran
-'gnome is kill'
-'no'
Sorry
F.Ultra Nov 10, 2021
View PC info
  • Supporter
Quoting: GuestAlso, who actually ignores warning messages and proceeds regardless?

People wanting to prove a point. The less cynical answer: "Windows people that are conditioned to ignore things like UAC and just click next->next->next regardless".
hagabaka Nov 10, 2021
This is why pacman ("I use Arch btw") just tells you when installing a package would result in a conflict and stops, rather than presenting "intelligent" solutions like removing/downgrading 100 other packages you need.


Last edited by hagabaka on 10 November 2021 at 5:06 pm UTC
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on:

Reward Tiers: Patreon. Plain Donations: PayPal.

This ensures all of our main content remains totally free for everyone! Patreon supporters can also remove all adverts and sponsors! Supporting us helps bring good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!
The comments on this article are closed.