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Bug#875858: pkgsel: Offer to install/manage unattended-upgrades

On Fri, May 18, 2018 at 11:53:42PM +0200, Cyril Brulebois wrote:

Sorry for the late reply, busy and backlogged in my inbox.

> > > That's pointless until testing becomes stable and by then it's too
> > > late, this needs to be disabled now. 
> Do you have minutes/rationales or something that can be pointed to?
> Reverting with just “security team says so” wouldn't be too good.

unattended-upgrades is a crude hack at best and _not_ suitable for a default
installation. There are selected scenarios where it might be useful (such as
a staging or test environment), but there will always be security updates which
are not sufficiently resolved by simply installing a package or which will
even break installations if no additional changes are made. The only supported
way to deploy a security update issued by the Debian Security Team is to follow
our advisories (which will provide instructions if an update requires subsequent
steps) and test it before it gets rolled out to additional machines. While we
have a very low regression rate, those are inevitable to a certain extent and
there's always stuff you cannot test/cover (local packages, cruft from previous

u-u is also very rudimentary. It doesn't support service restarts e.g., so
installing an openssl update is pretty pointless as it doesn't even attempt
to warn/act on library restarts.

It's also very brittle, only a few days ago I had to fix a stretch system where
it uninstalled virtually all KDE packages after installing the VLC update (which
installed a new version of libvlccore and all went kaboom).

All this crap falls back to the security team, because people think our update
broke the system. Or stuff like https://lists.debian.org/debian-security/2018/05/msg00011.html

u-u breaks stuff (and would even more so if installed by default on servers, where it
will cause unpredictable server downtimes during restarts etc.) and Debian should
not be broken by default.

If userse make a concious decision to accept the consequences of unattended-upgrades,
then they can install it explicitly and have to deal with the fallout, but it must not
be part of a default installation.

If this had been proposed to team@security.debian.org before making the
change we would have objected immediately as we are the ones primarily affected.
We can't sensibly follow all the discussions/developments made in Debian, it's
far too big. (And being in the security team is already so time-demanding that it
leaves little for other Debian work anyway).


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