Fedora recently issued a security update for D-Bus which broke a number of applications on generic Fedora systems. One of the areas affected was PackageKit — essentially leaving those accustomed to updating their systems with the Fedora GUI tools unable to do so in this manner.
The fix detailed by Paul Frields (issuing the command “su -c ‘yum update’” in a terminal window) is straightforward, but it has the Fedora community talking about how to minimize and handle update hiccups in the future.
Every distribution has them. Every operating system has them. I know I’ve experienced GUI package management/updating glitches on other distributions in the past, most likely not related in any way to those that caused Fedora’s issues. One LWN commenter mentioned the Ubuntu update issued in 2006 that left users without a graphical interface at all.
The important thing wasn’t the security update, the fact that it caused problems, or how involved the solution was. Fedora is making the most of one of open source’s strengths: recognizing what caused the issue (insufficient testing) and opening the lines of communication to the wider community to minimize the chances of these things happening in the future.
It won’t be the last time Fedora — or any distribution — has a troublesome update, even with improved updating procedures. Sometimes defining moments don’t arise from the fact that there was a problem, but how the issues are handled at the time, and how the organization uses the experience in the future.