Offline Updates are Coming

For a very long time we’ve been paving the road for offline updates. We are excited to finally introduce the first step to the KDE neon Unstable Edition today and would love to hear your opinion in the forum.

Unlike regular updates offline updates are not applied immediately but are only download and marked for installation on the next system restart. This has the tremendous advantage that you no longer need to interrupt whatever you are doing to update the system. They also prevent the system from entering a curious state of inconsistency resulting in an increased chance of bugs and crashes just after updating. Previously you might have been angrily looked at by Firefox, had Dolphin crash on you, or even got locked out of the session because the lockscreen jumped off a cliff after you applied an update. The reason for this is that most complex pieces of software really do not fare well if essential files change out from under it. Offline updates solve this problem by simply moving the installation stage to a time when the system is in a less vulnerable state.

What is changing exactly?

Starting today if you use Discover to update your KDE neon Unstable installation, instead of immediately applying the update it will download the package and notify you that you need to restart to complete the update. Upon starting the next time the update is finally applied.

Any other package management frontend will not perform offline updates. This most notably also includes the terminal interfaces pkcon and apt-get. Application distribution systems such as flatpak and snap are equally unaffected by this because they generally are not able to break the same way as system software can.

You can still choose to prepare an offline update using pkcon if you prefer using the terminal:
pkcon update --only-download && pkcon offline-trigger