Friday, August 6, 2010

side-stepping the hand-holding

For most Linux Mint users, updating is done with mintUpdate (the Update Manager), and installing and uninstalling is done with mintInstall (the Software Manager). To protect users (especially newbies) from borking their systems, each package is given a "level number" -- 1 to 5, with level 1 being the safest and level 5 being the most dangerous. By default, mintUpdate only shows level 1 through level 3 packages to the user, and makes only those packages available for installation. The the user can choose to make level 4 and level 5 packages available for installation.

I use the Synaptic package manager in all my distros, and I prefer to use it in Mint as well. But the Mint devs, in another attempt to make things "safer" for users, removed the "Mark All Upgrades" button in Synaptic, making it impossible to mark all available upgrades for installation with a single click in the latest Linux Mint release.

I consider that to be hand-holding taken a bit too far. Removing the "Mark All Upgrades" button in Synaptic is something that no other distro does, that I'm aware of.

Here's the work-around I use to get around this issue:

First, I click on the "Reload" button to get any available upgrades to show up in Synaptic. Then, I click on the "Status" button down at the lower left of the Synaptic window, and select "Installed (Upgradable)." I click on any of the listed packages, do a ctrl+a to select all, right-click on any of the selected packages, and click on "Mark for Upgrade." Then I can click on the "Apply" button to apply the upgrades.

Certainly not as quick and easy as using the "Mark All Upgrades" button, but it does the trick.

Here's hoping that the Linux Mint developers will, at the least, give users the option to restore the "Mark All Upgrades" button in Mint's Synaptic.

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