Update Manager: More kernel info
by clem 12

Work on Linux Mint 17.1 has begun and the Update Manager is getting additional features.

The kernel selection page was redesigned. More text was added to give vulgarized yet pertinent information to users about the nature of bug fixes, security fixes and regressions and to detail for each kernel, known fixes and known regressions.

Screenshot from 2014-07-21 13:15:43

Consistent to our policy on stability and security, we believe the best solution for you is to apply updates and install newer kernels when you actually need them, on a case by case basis and without taking unnecessary risks. Unlike other systems and distributions which recommend an “apply everything blindly” policy, we believe that decision can only be yours and for this reason information is key.

Note: Similar to level filtering in package updates, we rely on the people who experience regressions to report them to us. The Update Manager isn’t magically detecting regressions, it will only ever report them based on feedback. Same thing goes for fixes, although security notices will be accurate, your feedback is very welcome regarding hardware support improvements and bug fixes.

12 thoughts on “Update Manager: More kernel info

  1. Anand Jul 21,2014 13:33

    Nice work, Clem. “Please contact development team *here*” can be added with perhaps an hyperlink to http://www.linuxmint.com/contactus.php or such details.
    I know, most of regular users do know how to get in touch but this would make it look profofessional :-)
    Is there a way to know when a particular kernel was released?

    • clem Jul 21,2014 14:15

      Yes. Ubuntu always recommends the latest kernel, so there’s a meta-package called linux-image-generic which always points to it. You can install the release version (for instance with “apt install linux-image-generic=”). Following that you’ll get level 5 updates for each new kernel in the form of an update for linux-image-generic. Regarding the contact us note, it might sound silly, but if the communication channel between the dev. team and the community is too wide it can lose quality to the point where it becomes completely useless. To give you an example, if we receive 5 bug reports on a particular comm channel and they’re written by experienced users, we’re likely to fix everything… if we receive 10 reports a day and most of them are incomplete/inaccurate or if support questions are mixed in with it, at some stage triaging becomes too costly and we actually miss out on relevant reports. We’ve a huge user base and triaging is more and more difficult as we continue to grow. It’s a real problem for us since we rely so much on feedback.

      • Anand Jul 21,2014 15:28

        Hmm. What I meant asking was – can system show released date or such info for each of the kernel? It will tell me how old / new teh kernel is…Say, if it 3 mionths old, as a user i would know that there is a good chance that most of regressions are already reported wherein if it is only 15 days old I would probably wait for a little while till the dust settles down..

        It isnt silly, I get it completely. :-) – community communication could go out of hands. I already notice that on github where many of the recent issues are either duplicate, redundant (against wrong repository), etc. Growth is not always a rosy path, has its own pains.

        Am tempted to ask this – Any plans for a Mint bug reporting tool? :-D

  2. Pjotr Jul 26,2014 05:56

    In my opinion, it would be better if mintupdate (Update Manager) would include an option for automatic notification of kernel updates, and present them unchecked. Such an integrated option is nicer than installing an Ubuntu meta-package….

    I’ve created an idea for it:

    This would also help to address some criticism about the security policies of Linux Mint.

  3. J├╝rgen Kazmirzak Aug 1,2014 13:24

    Hello Clem,

    what about a button “Report Regression” that opens a web page where you can report a regression and rate it similar to the AppStore? No work for dev team, but huge information basis, just imagine things like

    +10: after installing this kernel, my Nvidia card stopped working.
    +3: couldn’t boot after installing this kernel. Had to remove mdm.

    You could use the voting platform you already developed –> almost too easy to implement.

  4. Linux Mint Aug 7,2014 17:34

    i have an issue with kernel 3.13.0-32 on one of my boxes. Installs with errors, all the previous no issue on install. Yes, this info is kinda crude, i dont recall what it said at the end.

  5. Linux Mint Aug 7,2014 21:47

    A few hours ago i saw and tried this new 3.16-06 Kernel. To me it s not clear, what s the purpose as things dont seem to improve on this Lenovo g700 box. Neither the Bluetooth module is found now (on the other Kernels it DOESNT work, but is found) NOR was I able to install the necessary Broadcom WIFI Drivers from !Driver Manage!.

    Oh well, go figure :)

  6. Tom Aug 8,2014 08:05

    LM works great! Thank you!
    Please add an auto-update feature. I take care of a lot LM installations for non-prof users and sometimes they forget to update.

  7. Manny Glover Nov 2,2016 19:52

    In the screenshot of the Update Manager, why are there two version numbers sometimes listed on one row? For example, the highlighted row contains “3.13.0-29 (”.

    • clem Nov 3,2016 12:54

      The first one is the Ubuntu version number, the second one is the version of the upstream kernel it’s based on…. it’s complicated to explain, but what’s happening here is a mix between a freeze and a series of backports… they’re doing the best they can considering how fast new kernels become available upstream.

  8. Ryan Nov 3,2016 20:52

    @Tom’s comment “LM works great! Thank you!
    Please add an auto-update feature. I take care of a lot LM installations for non-prof users and sometimes they forget to update.”:

    Not a good idea. GNU+Linux is about putting control in the hands of the user. If you put [in] an Automatically-Update feature, it would be removing control away from the hands of the user.

    Not to mention, automatically-updating things willy-nilly can break the software (as we’ve already seen happen in Windows and/or the operating-system for Macintosh computers).

    It’s better to leave things as they are: You update WHEN you want[, PERIOD].

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