install updates now? (y/n)
By Chris Quenelle on Jul 18, 2004
A perspective on OS update tools I just updated my Windows XP box at home. It gives me a little icon when there are updates, I push the button when I'm ready. Sometimes I have to reboot, sometimes I don't. Now, why are dynamic updates important to me? Is it because I have all the very latest security fixes? Not really. I don't ever use Outlook or IE. I have a firewall router, I have NAV installed. So security fixes are not a big deal for me. What I have is a warm fuzzy feeling that I'm running the exact same bit-for-bit version of Windows XP that 95% of all users are running. When I read a website sometimes it says: "I had this problem on Windows XP and here's what I did to work around it." or maybe it says "This application will run on Windows XP". When I read those statements, I am confident that if it was true for that user then there is a 95% chance that it's also true for me. I don't have to worry about what update they are running or what minor release of Windows XP. When a new feature is ready, it rolls out to the update servers, and almost everybody downloads and installs it by pushing a button.
Solaris major OS update once every 20 years : breaks 95% of programs desktop GUI update every 3-5 years : uglifies 100% of all GUI programs minor update every 1-2 years : breaks .5% of programs Windows major update once every 4 years : breaks 30% of programs mostly seamless incremental updates every week or so : breaks .5% of programsNote that a Linux system with Red Carpet installed is much closer to the windows model. I believe that the GUI problem is going to get better now that Sun has teamed up with Linux. But it'll take a long time before I forget about the desktop-of-the-month problem with SunView, XView, OpenLook (Sun OL versus AT&T OL), Motif/CDE, Gnome. IMHO The Solaris update model is best for servers, and the windows model is best for desktops (big surprise, I suppose). This seems perfectly natural, since that's the emphasis of the two companies. I keep hearing that PatchPro (an automatic patching tool) is going to change the world, but I wonder which world it's intended to change. On Solaris, I don't suppose I'll ever be able to push an "update OS" button without typing in my root password, but I wish I could. Remember, desktop usually means single user. I have never really found the lack of a root password to be a problem on Windows. --chris