Speaking of zmd/rug (and zypper) on Opensuse…

Since I mentioned zmd (and database corruption) in the last post, I thought I’d go on to mention that I — like you and everyone else out there — am not really fond of zmd/rug as the default update mechanism on Opensuse 10.2 and previous. The good news is that Suse themselves apparently were not fond of it either, and removed it from Opensuse 10.3, and replaced it with zypper.

(Note: all the following assumes that you have done the “Customer Center” setup, or whatever they want to call the update configuration in the version you’re running…)

Fortunately, zypper has considerably less impact on a running system. It gracefully starts and exits without all the overhead of the zmd daemon needing to be running. You can easily stick it in your crontab like this:

crontab -e

…then add the following line (yes, using vi nomenclature):

31 23 * * * zypper up -y -t patch --skip-interactive

…and save. This will run at 23:31 each night.

Of course, you can do the same thing in Yast2 with the Automatic Online Update Setup module. The Yast2 module will create the following line in /etc/cron.d/yast2-online-update :

31 23 * * * root zypper up -y -t patch --skip-interactive

…depending on whether or not you choose to skip interactive (which you should, since it’s unattended), and of course your time will vary. If you just want to see what updates are ready and available, just enter:

zypper lu

Want more good news? The same zypper stuff now applies to Opensuse 10.2. Honestly, I’m not sure when it got put there, because I really never looked in the past. The only caveat appears to be that in 10.2 (or 10.1 for that matter), if you use the Yast2 Automatic Updates Setup tool, it will default to zmd/rug, so you’ll need to be running the zmd daemon for that. It will put a line similar to the following in /etc/cron.d/yast2-online-update :

48 4 * * * root rug up -y -t patch --skip-interactive

…again, your date and options may vary. Note that rug is the client of zmd, and they need each other like drunk needs a bar, and a bar needs drunks. 😉

I have 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3 machines and the defaults go like this:

  • On 10.1, you must use zmd
  • On 10.2, you can use zmd *or* zypper
  • On 10.3, you use zypper

I also want to make clear that I think zmd is not all bad. In fact, in Novell/Suse OES-Linux (both versions), rug/zmd is the default and only choice, and it is somehow different and completely nice, low-impact, fast, and easy to use. I guess they figure if you’re going to spend “actual money” (thanks to IBM for that quote), you may as well not pissed off all the time about patching (like all of us Opensuse users used to be).


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