×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Typical Windows User Patches Every 5 Days

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the about-how-often-I-shave dept.

Upgrades 388

CWmike writes "The typical home user running Windows faces the 'unreasonable' task of patching software an average of every five days, security research company Secunia said on Thursday. 'It's completely unreasonable to expect users to master so many different patch mechanisms and spend so much time patching,' said Thomas Kristensen, the company's CSO. The result: Few consumers devote the time and attention necessary to stay atop the patching job, which leaves them open to attack. Secunia says that of the users who ran the company's Personal Software Inspector in the last week of January, half had 66 or more programs from 22 or more different vendors on their machines. ... Secunia has published a white paper (PDF) that details its findings."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

388 comments

Did you see the latest hole in windows? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31362356)

Re:Did you see the latest hole in windows? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31362454)

Come on man, that's nasty. Here's [nimp.org] the stuff to avoid!

mod parent up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31362528)

MOD PARENT UP

Seems about right (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362366)

There seem to have been loads of updates recently

Re:Seems about right (2, Informative)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362470)

I feel like my ubuntu system has been pestering me with updates far more frequently lately as well...

Re:Seems about right (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31362598)

It has been. There has been a sharp increase in the number of patches since 9.10 was released.

Some have argued that it's because the community is growing, and more bugs are being found, and then being fixed.

Frankly, I think that's a load of bunk! I suspect the real situation is that the quality of Ubuntu releases has been dropping off significantly over the past few releases. We're seeing a lot more utter shit allowed in than we would have seen in the past, with less testing and hence the drop in quality.

This last release of Ubuntu almost felt as cocked-up and fecal-like as Fedora. You know your Linux distribution has hit rock bottom when Fedora begins to look stable compared to it.

Re:Seems about right (1)

fredjh (1602699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362640)

Lately? I was just about to say it's been nearly every day for years.

Of course, that includes non-security updates, too, but it checks every damn time you log in. The option is to turn it off completely? That's no good, either.

Re:Seems about right (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362946)

How many different mechanisms is that? TFA indicated it's 22 different ones for Windows users. Let's see, there's apt, and then Firefox, so there's 20 to go...

Re:Seems about right (2, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362904)

My Fedora 11 system has patches to install nearly every day. At least all the updates come through one mechanism, and usually I don't need to reboot to apply the patches.

sucks to be support (4, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362372)

I'm the guy in our household responsible for applying our patches, being an IT professional and all.

Since we have a "few" computers all around the house, it's pretty much every time I sit down to one I have to apply patches, and usually a reboot to boot. Sometimes, it's a rarely used computer that I grab (laptop) just to get a few quick things done, and it requires multiple iterations of patches and reboots. Sigh.

I find it exasperating that my experience is almost always, "apply these patches", and then you can do some work with Windows. The good news (for me), I'm finally migrating EVERYTHING (as in replacing with) Macs and Linux. Time and money, that's all it takes.

Interestingly the other day... I got in and was productive immediately on a Windows laptop. Wow! C'est vrai? And when I went to shut it down? "Please do not power down your computer. Windows is installing (3 of 10...) updates..." WTH?

Re:sucks to be support (1)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362430)

For me that's kind of a so what... I patch as much as windows will let me without a restart and go about my business. Once I'm done I shut down and walk away weather its a desktop or laptop ( the laptop I just drop somewhere appropriate and plugged in). Most of the time those patches don't mean a whole lot to me because the only time they cause me much of a problem is with viruses but my web computer I use often and my non-web computer couldn't care less (not that I go to most of the sites that are virus hazards).

Re:sucks to be support (2, Interesting)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362432)

Just want to make sure I get what you're saying... So you're complaining that if you don't use a computer for a month, then suddenly you have to catch up on a month's worth of updates? Sure, it would be nice if they were cumulative--but these patches are designed for a daily user, and putting out multiple versions of updates just means there's more ways that something could go wrong.

And if you have to patch BEFORE you start working, then that's bad, but if you have to patch when you shut down instead, that's bad too. When should these updates happen, ideally?

Re:sucks to be support (4, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362944)

And if you have to patch BEFORE you start working, then that's bad, but if you have to patch when you shut down instead, that's bad too. When should these updates happen, ideally?

I'd say a hell of a lot less frequently than once a week! Ideally, you should be able to tell the PC "download and install updates on shutdown" and when you shut it down, the computer downloads and installs the patches you select, then shuts down.

Better yet, it should be like Linux -- you only have to reboot if there's there's an update to the kernel.

Re:sucks to be support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31362494)

My experience with Windows patches is that they download and install in the background after i log on, and then 5 min or so into my session i get a balloon saying either "Updates Completed!" or "Updates Completed, please restart." If it's the latter, I can decide whether I want to restart right away or when I'm done with the computer.

I've never been prevented from working while patches download.

Re:sucks to be support (1)

mjschultz (819188) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362878)

I'm not often a Windows user, but I had just the opposite experience recently and it *really* pissed me off. Windows was doing its auto-updates in the background and I had already gone through a patch-reboot cycle, then it pops up a message saying that it will automatically restart in 10 minutes.

The first time I saw the message, I clicked remind me again in 10 minutes (the other options were 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours). 20 minutes later all my programs close and I'm looking at an "Installing Updates" screen. I didn't even get a chance to save my work. The "restarting in 10 minutes" window popped up behind the active window, so I didn't see it.

This was Windows 7 and there was no "I'll restart the computer myself" option on the interface. I did a bit of searching and the fix involved going through a *.msi file and toggling some setting.

I assume I must have done something wrong somewhere, because if that is the way Microsoft designed this functionality by default I am glad I don't have to deal with that.

Re:sucks to be support (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31363020)

I've been using Windows 7 since the beta and I've yet to see it do this. Yes, it'll nag at you to restart, but just hit 4 hours every time until you have time to restart - on a typical work day (if it's a work machine) you'll see it no more than two times, which is hardly a big deal. So yes, I'd have to go with the "you did something wrong somewhere" view as well since I've never seen this happen in my year of using Windows 7 on a daily basis.

Re:sucks to be support (3, Insightful)

ekgringo (693136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362860)

It really aggravates me the way that Vista and now Windows 7 force patch installation at shutdown. Usually when I shut down, I'm taking my laptop somewhere else and often running late. When the patching happens I have no recourse but to let the damn thing finish running in my backpack, with my fingers crossed hoping the battery doesn't die and the laptop doesn't overheat while running full-tilt in a small enclosed space.

Re:sucks to be support (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362906)

I find it exasperating that my experience is almost always, "apply these patches", and then you can do some work with Windows. The good news (for me), I'm finally migrating EVERYTHING (as in replacing with) Macs and Linux. Time and money, that's all it takes.

Enjoy the brief respite while it lasts. My OSX box seems to want patches to be installed at least every couple of weeks. Even the Ubuntu server that I have in production seems to want an occasional reboot due to patch related processes.

why is it so unreasonable? (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362376)

patching for Windows is largely automated...

Heck, my Linux has patches every day and I kinda see that as a good thing.

Re:why is it so unreasonable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31362394)

Linux has to be patched? Mod parent down!

Re:why is it so unreasonable? (1, Interesting)

SectoidRandom (87023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362508)

If you use the computer every day it is not, however if you only turn it on every week or two (like my mother) then expect 30minutes of prompts for different updates!

Re:why is it so unreasonable? (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362586)

What have you been using? Even windows is smart enough to batch the updates through. And in the rare case that an update depends on another that requires a restart, it'll apply the new update after the restart. So just hit "update" and either walk away or continue working until it prompts for a restart. The only time I've run into an issue is the RARE update that requires a license agreement. Same goes for linux (minus the license part). If you're that concerned about it, install WSUS and let that manage your updates for you (and then you can set an update schedule, predownload the updates, etc)...

Re:why is it so unreasonable? (4, Insightful)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362932)

I'm pretty sure he means that Flash will want to update, Adobe Reader will complain, Windows will want to patch itself, etc. For folks using iTunes - it will want to throw down the latest iTunes and Quicktime. Firefox will want to update, etc., etc. ad nauseum.

The real issue is that Windows doesn't have a centralized update mechanism. Quite frankly the ISV's resisted the idea as they didn't want to have anything seem like Microsoft controlled it. More and more I am leaning towards the belief that Microsoft needs to build a centralized update service and allow ISV's to opt in to it. After they realize they can post their updates without being metered or anything by Microsoft they will find that they don't have to build custom updaters, write services to do it so that they don't have UAC prompts for patches, etc.

Re:why is it so unreasonable? (2, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#31363024)

In my experience the issue isn't with the Windows OS, but all of the applications. On my boxes I have Java wanting an update and Adobe products wanting updates. Firefox seems to want an update pretty frequently. The anti-virus starts to cry if it hasn't been updated lately. I think the point the report is making is that just about every application these days has its own update frequency. You can't manage non-Microsoft patches with WSUS. Even a product like SMS (or whatever they are calling it these days) requires someone to stay on top of all the recent releases, and create packages to push out to the workstations. The last time I tried to update Adobe Shockwave (and Flash) because of an update, the .msi installer version that Adobe puts out wasn't even up to date and didn't address the security issue. Adobe makes you jump through hoops to even get the .msi installer files in the first place.

Re:why is it so unreasonable? (2, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362558)

By and large, patches are a good thing, unless and until they prevent you from getting work done on the machine. Then they become a pain.

I was constantly frustrated and annoyed by the simple fact that Windows lacks a centralized update system that is open for everyone to use. It's got automated updating, sure, but it's a series of individual solutions per vendor and everyone solves the problem in different ways. And either there's an always-running app in the background (of which I had 15-20 at any given time, which gobbles up memory and occasionally CPU), or the software checks for updates when I start it up (the very least convenient time I want to update a bit of software is WHEN I'M STARTING IT - I opened Acroreader because I wanted to read a file, and now is not a good time to ask me if I want to wait ten minutes while my hard drive whirs getting the new shiny version installed. PS: As soon as I'm done reading the document, I'm going to shut down Acroread and not think about the update any more until you ask me at the least convenient time again, and I'll ignore it. Again).

Then, of course, there's Patch Tuesday. You never quite know what fresh hell awaits on Patch Tuesday, but it almost always includes a reboot.

Re:why is it so unreasonable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31362856)

I would assume it's talking about individual apps. Many do not automatically update and must be manually patched if you want to be up to date, but most users shouldn't care about those since they won't be nagged...

Re:why is it so unreasonable? (1)

mjschultz (819188) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362970)

I think the major complaint here is that there are so many updating systems for a Windows machine. On Linux, yeah I update every day, but it is all done through the same interface. I'm not saying this is perfect. But, it beats running the Windows Update, then the Office Update, then the Adobe Update, then the Apple Update, then the * Update, ad nauseum.

Seems to be automatic (5, Informative)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362390)

Funny--my Firefox updates when I start it up, my Flash and Java and Adobe Reader update essentially on their own, and Windows updates when I shut it down...Steam updates on its own...Trillian and uTorrent give me a button to push to update them...I'm pretty much a power user, but I've never been prompted to update something that was remotely confusing. As long as things that need updating have an easy button to push to do it for you, I'm happy--extra bonus points if there's a checkbox in the installer to choose between "update automatically" and "prompt annoyingly when an update is available"

Re:Seems to be automatic (4, Insightful)

Dice (109560) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362468)

The real problem in Windows is that all of these software packages have their own independent (and potentially broken) update mechanisms. One thing that modern Linux distros get right is centralized software updates. My Ubuntu laptop has a dialog box waiting for me most mornings that details any software updates it would like to install, and whether or not they are security related. I could tell it to do it all automatically but I like reviewing the changes before I install them.

Re:Seems to be automatic (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31362716)

But, if everyone used Windows Updates (they can), how could they flog their extra crap? Apple's updater plugs Safari 4 every bloody time. Adobe wants me to install mcafee and other shit. Google has 2 seperate updaters for Talk and the toolbar....

Of all the updating shit, Windows seems to do it the best. If you leave your PC on all the time, it'll do its update some sunday night at 3am. Otherwise, every week or so the shutdown procedure takes an extra minute. BFD.

Re:Seems to be automatic (3, Interesting)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362546)

Most programs do have such update features. The question is more how well they work.

When people bring me computers needing a tuneup, usually they have Adobe Reader 8.1.0, Java 1.6.5 to 15 (not 18, the newest), and Flash 10.x (Congrats, Flash. Now if only you had less vulnerabilities)

This is despite them having auto-updaters. Multiple reboots leads to no prompts. Why aren't the updaters working? No idea - at first.

At that point I'll check winver and note it's an XP SP2 machine. After updating to XP SP3, suddenly they all work.

If anyone is having issues managing updates, you might be interested in something like this: http://www.filehippo.com/updatechecker/ [filehippo.com]

Re:Seems to be automatic (2, Interesting)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362596)

Funny--my Firefox updates when I start it up, my Flash and Java and Adobe Reader update essentially on their own, and Windows updates when I shut it down...Steam updates on its own...Trillian and uTorrent give me a button to push to update them...I'm pretty much a power user, but I've never been prompted to update something that was remotely confusing. As long as things that need updating have an easy button to push to do it for you, I'm happy--extra bonus points if there's a checkbox in the installer to choose between "update automatically" and "prompt annoyingly when an update is available"

Yeah, i really don't see the issue here. The article makes it seem like the act of "patching" involves *any* work at all, but I generally just need to click "ok" unless its set to automatic. I never really have to do anything. I don't see it as "the user has to patch the machine", I see it as "the machine patches itself" every few days, which doesn't sound nearly as bad.

Seems like the article is just FUD.
-Taylor

Re:Seems to be automatic (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362636)

Yeah, "frequency of patches" is a useless metric. "How much time the user loses to software patching" would have made far more sense.

Developer PROTIP: Unless you've fixed a huge, critical issue, just silently update your program the next time it's shut down. Don't notify me about regular updates, and don't make me manually check for them - I'll forget. And whatever you do, don't make your updater load every time I start my computer.

Re:Seems to be automatic (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362704)

my Firefox updates when I start it up, my Flash and Java and Adobe Reader update essentially on their own, and Windows updates when I shut it down...Steam updates on its own...Trillian and uTorrent give me a button to push to update them

So that's 8 'auto-updaters' on your machine. How many resident update/callhome processes would you want to have your average user running? 10? 12? 20? Atleast you use Trillian, some people use both AOL/yahoo/skype IM clients...

Re:Seems to be automatic (1)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362790)

Confusing isn't the issue, knowing when it's important and not important to actually install the patch, and knowing when the patches requires/doesn't require a reboot is a problem. In many cases it may also be confusing to know if a patch notification is legitimate or a scam as well.

I leave a LOT of stuff mid-process. It REALLY pisses me off when I find Windows has automatically rebooted my machine, and I've gone to great pains to choose browsers and applications that can auto-resume or auto-save when this happens. It's also annoying when you get prompted trying to open an app, it needs a patch that's non descriptive, and then it insists on rebooting the machine before you can proceed, in many cases causing you to loose the link you clicked on in the first place that launched said app.

If all of this was centralized, provided as a service, schedulable, and clearly defined both priority and impact of the patch, it would be better. More so if multiple patches from multiple vendors could be concurrently installed.

microsoft already extends the Microsoft Update system to their own apps, as well as 3rd party drivers, why can't they further extend it to 3rd party APPS!

It's not confusing, it's infuriating...

Apple Update, Microsoft Update, Java, Adobe, browsers, Steam, games, apps, antivirus, anti-spyware, VM engine, and then all the patching inside the VMs... This is the reason I want an iPad so bad: one less fucking system to patch.....

Stopped reading at 'unreasonable' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31362392)

There nothing unreasonable about it. Especially if you have automatic updates. My fedora box updates just about every day so, does that make fedora more 'unreasonable'?

I guess in from the perspective of the authors, Windows is better than Linux.

Ignorant Haters (2, Insightful)

Chicken04GTO (957041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362396)

Yeah its real hard. You do....nothing. (Automatic settings). If you want more control, you can change the settings. More windows-hate circle jerking.

Re:Ignorant Haters (1)

yoghurt (2090) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362550)

You have misunderstood. It's not the Microsoft window update doing its job as it is keeping ALL your software up to date. Windows update does not update all those other piece of software you have, e,g., java, flash, firefox, adobe pdf reader, virus scanner &c. Instead, each piece of software some unique mechanism (or none at all) to keep itself updated.

There is no common infrastructure to do this automatically. I don't expect MS to update my flashplayer, but I would enjoy some kind of help like a master list of update-sites and repositories to check the software against. Unfortunately, it would open up some kind of security can of worms too. But then again, vulnerable software is also a security can of worms.

I particularly loathe those crapplets which load up automatically and exist only to look for updates. They don't just check and go away, no they stay loaded all the time. Can't they make some sort of cron task?

Why just Windows? (3, Informative)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362402)

I've owned a Droid phone for 5 days now. I've already had to "patch" two of the apps for it out of about 10 apps that I have on the phone.

By those standards I'd say MS is doing one hell of a fine job.

Re:Why just Windows? (1)

ashridah (72567) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362620)

Just wait till you install Twidroid! You'll be updating multiple times a day then :)

Re:Why just Windows? (1)

malakai (136531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362708)

Pandora's jar was opened as soon as always-online systems became the norm. Software producers can ship code that has been less throughly tested, knowing they can patch or send out an update if they find something. Even console games, the once most ironclad software 4th only to military, medical, and flight software, now ships expecting patches to be available by the time the user gets it installed.

The good news is we get software more quickly. The bad news is we get software more quickly.

Luckily, the auto-update software is becoming better at it's job. More and more systems are being designed to hot-update. This is normally a result of modular architecture inside the software, allowing plugins to be unloaded at runtime, and new version loaded. This is even creeping into the OS. If you have the right mix of OS and Hardware, you may already be doing live video driver updates. Some RAID controllers allow you to swap drivers at runtime if the OS isn't on that controller.

But if they just buy our software (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362408)

We can manage all those patches for them!

Seriously, that is what this looks like to me. It is a load of bullshit over all. Reason being that few things actually need patches for security reasons. The OS, virus scanner, browser, browser plugins and so on sure. However a videogame? No probably not. Well guess what? Turns out most of the stuff that needs patching, patches itself. Windows downloads patches and applies them in the middle of the night. Firefox grabs new versions when you surf, and installs next time it starts up. Virus scanners update silently in the background all the time.

If people actually had to spend time managing patches on all their apps, sure ti might be a problem. However for the most part that isn't the case. In the default config most important apps update themselves.

So... (5, Insightful)

Xipe66 (587528) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362412)

My Ubuntu installation updates and patches way more often than my Windows installs do. Newsworthy? Didn't think so /.

Re:So... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362438)

Yes, was about to say on the patch front Windows is exponentially less annoying than Ubuntu.

Re:So... (3, Interesting)

AdamWill (604569) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362512)

the point is that Ubuntu uses one mechanism to provide updates for *all* the software you have installed, as long as you stick to the Ubuntu repos, as is heavily advised and encouraged on all Linux distributions. Windows Update gets you updates to Windows itself, and a few Microsoft applications. For all other applications, you have to use a different mechanism in each individual app, or else you're vulnerable.

(This is an excellent answer to the typical 'why can't I just double-click on an .exe file?!' whine about Linux software installation, BTW.)

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362778)

This is an excellent answer to the typical 'why can't I just double-click on an .exe file?!' whine about Linux software installation, BTW.

Yes. OS X and Windows desktop market share illustrate why binary installers that work across years of operating system releases are dumb.

Until the Linux community can get together and hash the installer problem out, you're not only locking out larger developers, but smaller ones as well. Pretending that this isn't a problem is not a solution.

Re:So... (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362794)

as long as you stick to the Ubuntu repos, as is heavily advised and encouraged on all Linux distributions.

I think using Ubuntu repositories on a Gentoo box would be discouraged.

But I guess your post can also be parsed in a different way (if you ignore the bits between the commas):

one mechanism to provide updates for *all* the software you have installed... as is heavily advised and encouraged on all Linux distributions.

Re:So... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362886)

Sylpheed tried to update itself and I said no. The I went to synaptic and looked for the version sylpheed was going to update too and it wasn't there. I suppose some users would accept the update from the application to get a version not available in the repositories.

Re:So... (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362912)

apt-get update

apt-get upgrade

Done!

With Windows I have to keep feeds in Google Reader for apps that don't automatically update so I can go to their individual sites, download the newest installers, run them, change the install paths since they were poorly coded and forgot it, do the same with the start menu shortcuts path, uncheck the options to install spyware, toolbars, and change my search page, and finally I can let it do its thing, but I have to go back to close it later. Then for installers that don't let me change the start menu path I have to go in and clean up after them.

Thankfully more apps have automatic update now, so the process is automated, but even some of those leave messes in my start menu. Bad!

Unreasonable? (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362416)

Ya it is completely unreasonable for a home user to check the "Automatic update button" Wait...that is the default option. Even in my Enterprise organization it isnt exactly a pain to setup a WSUS server...

This just sounds like someone trying to stir up trouble to get attention. Patching is part of life. It is not a pain, it is about as easy of a task as you can have, most home users don't even know they do it.

Re:Unreasonable? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362518)

The unreasonable bit is that the "automatic update button" only affects windows updates. Other software handles the update process on its own, imo improperly, because application updates (except for MS applicatiosn) are not integrated into the auto updates.

Linux is the only one that gets this right, and even there only partially: many proprietary third-party applications simply aren't in the repositories. There really doesn't seem to be a "updates only" repo for any OS, as buy-in would still be difficult to get.

Still, if you stick with what's in the repositories, and there is a lot there, you can get away with a unified update process. You can actually be certain that everything on your machine is as up-to-date as the maintainers can be.

Re:Unreasonable? (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362566)

a unified update process would be a nightmare though. When it comes to applications I often have to review the update, some "updates" are rushed. With the exception of security updates, most of the time you don't have to worry about an update. Patch whores are just asking for trouble.

Re:Unreasonable? (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362658)

So you actually think MS should be responsible for pushing out 3rd party application updates? Unreasonable indeed...

On the up side it would give the haters something else to bitch and moan about. Then we could read articles about MS's "gestapo patch review process", or something similar. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Re:Unreasonable? (1)

Tordre (1447083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362954)

yeah it is unreasonable to expect Microsoft to patch other people's software.

On the other hand I don't think it is too unreasonable to have api's so other software can add their software to Windows Update and point the update servers to their personal servers for updates on the said software. It will cut down the number of background applications that only exists to update Adobe, Apple, and Google programs (to name a few big ones).

I'm amazed that it's only every 5 days (1)

supremebob (574732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362422)

Honestly, I would be happy if I could use my Windows system for five days without getting a notice to update something. Between Flash, Firefox, Windows Update, and my AntiVirus software, I must see an update notification every 2 days or so!

Not that Linux or Mac users should be gloating... The software update systems in Fedora and Mac OS X are almost as obnoxious.

Fedora is Worse (1)

ElusiveMind (1714020) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362424)

I run a Fedora Core 12 server as a personal development server. There are package updates for it almost daily. I would say that in the 30 days that I've had it running, I've patched it at least 10 times. I try not to check it every day because I really shouldn't have to. It just seems there are a lot of patches and package updates for this.

Has anyone else had a similar experience with Fedora or any other flavor of Linux?

Re:Fedora is Worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31362816)

Try Slackware. No automatic updates, and only a few security updates a month usually. Patching everything all day long is plain paranoia, especially if you're not directly exposed to the net.

Re:Fedora is Worse (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362868)

I usually get weekly batches of stuff for my ubuntu box, BUT the converse is most of it is for stuff from the default installation that I haven't bothered removing (or shouldn't have installed in the first place).

For example, today I saw CUPS had about 3-4 various package updates, but I don't have a printer attached to my laptop at all in any way.

Get a Mac! (-1, Troll)

Alwinner (1576143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362428)

Get a Mac! There are a few updates per year including security patches. Set the admin login to check automatically for updates and away you go.

Re:Get a Mac! (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362502)

Not sure if paying at least twice as much for the same hardware makes up for having to patch less...

Re:Get a Mac! (3, Interesting)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362590)

Yes, because it's completely reasonable that the *monthly* patches my Mac at work gets 95% of the time require a restart. Why do iTunes or Safari need the system to be restarted? I'm only forced to reboot my Win7 machine due to patches... Hmm, I think once in the time I've had it.

And OS X requires me to put in my password in order to install patches, so it can't patch unattended, or in the background. It's a choice between delaying my work or delaying the patch. Most people are going to pick "delaying the patch," especially if they've got anything open. And that's how security starts to fall apart.

Couldn't be more correct! (3, Insightful)

SectoidRandom (87023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362450)

Last year I bought for my mother a new computer, she is quite computer literate but I was shocked to find 3 months after purchasing that she has gotten into the habit of turning it on once a week just to give it an hour to "update itself". That was to allow her to spend 30mins every other week doing her online stuff..

I literally couldn't or didn't believe it, but then I actually was there one day and watched as all the mostly default installed apps when through their motions of requesting updates. It literally took about half an hour before to computer was usable without something prompting "Do you want to install this update..."!

In the end I removed some of the crap like Java and the HP printer updater, and told her to turn it on only ever other week for the updates!

Definitely there is some need to consolidate updates into one program..

Re:Couldn't be more correct! (2, Funny)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362488)

Or maybe she needs to connect on something faster than dial-up.

Re:Couldn't be more correct! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31362690)

Yeah, getting Broadband purely in order to update her apps properly. That sure sounds reasonable...

Re:Couldn't be more correct! (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362756)

Then don't complain about how slow things download. You can get reasonably fast internet for 15.00 a month in a lot of areas these days.

Re:Couldn't be more correct! (1)

SectoidRandom (87023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362764)

Or maybe she needs to connect on something faster than dial-up.

Err, just so you know it is a 10mbit broadband.

In other words it's not the downloading of the patches that is the slow part it's the 15 different apps attempting to update when they are first used or actually a program that depends on a program that depends on a program that depends on them is used.

Re:Couldn't be more correct! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31362644)

I literally couldn't or didn't believe it, but then I actually was there one day and watched as all the mostly default installed apps when through their motions of requesting updates. It literally took about half an hour before to computer was usable without something prompting "Do you want to install this update..."!

>

I can't believe it either because it's fucking bullshit. Get rid of her PII, sign her up for high speed internet, and remove the 100 spywares on her computer.

Re:Couldn't be more correct! (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362934)

Or just disable the UPDATERS. No reason why that stuff needs to slow down startup, the app vendors should just do it like Firefox and check when you run it and download silently in the background for you.

Re:Couldn't be more correct! (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362956)

Or maybe she could just leave the god damn thing on. It's not like they suck up power when they're asleep or in standby mode.

Patching holes in the Titanic (1)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362474)

Let's face it, doing patches this often is like putting mattresses in the hole on the side of the Titanic. It merely delays the inevitable, slightly. We need to rip out the ineffective system we're gotten used to, and to move on [skyhunter.com].

I'm a typical home user (2, Interesting)

mschuyler (197441) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362476)

and I surely do not experience that amount of 'patching.' I also think updating virus signatures shouldn't be considered a 'patch' per se. Those are essentially database records, not bug fixes. Windows gives me updates about once per month. Once in awhile I get an Adobe or a Java update, but the total is nowhere near what these guys are saying.

Re:I'm a typical home user (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362648)

and I surely do not experience that amount of 'patching.' I also think updating virus signatures shouldn't be considered a 'patch' per se.

I'm with you. I don't know if I'm a "typical" home user, but close enough. If I don't include Windows Defender updates, or anti-virus definitions updates, I get maybe a half-dozen patches a month, with most of those delivered automatically through windows update. Flash isn't updated often, my browser isn't updated often, my games aren't updated often... pretty much *nothing* on my computer is updated as often as the OS.

Re:I'm a typical home user (1)

ekgringo (693136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362992)

And why do antivirus updates require a 60mb download? Can't they just push out the changes and not the entire damn definitions database?

The problem is... (1, Insightful)

QRDeNameland (873957) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362496)

The problem, in my opinion, is the fact that patches, particularly Windows Updates, have a track record of breaking things. This leads to a conundrum...automatically update and risk mysterious breakage, or manually update and risk falling behind and being insecure. If you want to make patching less onerous, the first step is to make it as reliable as possible, and then a larger percentage of users will trust automatic updates.

How about Linux users? (1, Troll)

Ponga (934481) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362498)

Running Ubuntu at home, seems like once a week there an update for something or other... Thank God Linux is *FAR* more graceful applying patches - I can update anything on the system and so long as the kernel is not touched, no reboot is required. Windoze just kills me... yo have to reboot for every damn thing! Glad I don't have to deal with that...

so what? (1, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362520)

not a 7-day span goes by without ubuntu patches it seems.

it would be better if everything would be more like apple? just ignore problems for months at a time then release large patch sets?

what the world needs now is another "security expert" interpreting useless data.

Re:so what? (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362922)

But those are package patches most of the time. Are you actually using those packages?

In my case, my most recent batch had a few CUPS updates. If I was retentive about it I'd have removed that whole package from my laptop a while ago since it does not now, nor will in the forseeable future, have a printer attached to it.

Difference in update methods not number of updates (2, Informative)

fwittekind (186517) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362530)

I think the difference is that with Windows, you have to install updates from Microsoft via one method, updates to Adobe software via another method, updates to Firefox by another method. Lots of things for the user to learn, there isn't just a click one thing and it updates everything.

My Linux box on the other hand, does have quite a few updates, and requires updating often, but, it's just one interface to update everything, including from third party vendors (i.e. Adobe)

Re:Difference in update methods not number of upda (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362592)

What's REALLY annoying is when Adobe is in the middle of updating and Windows reboots to do ITS update, messing up Adobe's.

Re:Difference in update methods not number of upda (1)

fwittekind (186517) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362830)

Exactly my point. . . If Windows had a unified update system, you wouldn't have that problem.

But, every app that needs an update system installs it's own.

I go months before patching (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362544)

All but 2 of my home computers are configured as Media Center PCs, I do not patch them.

They connect to the internet only to update the program guide. Since that's the extent of their interraction with the rest of the world, I do not see the need to patch them. I do, however, regularly patch my gaming machine and my Netbook since I use them almost daily.

I think September 2009 was the last time I updated Windows Vista Home Premium on my Dell E510 doing HTPC duties.

That number includes all application patches... (2, Interesting)

kgo (1741558) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362552)

I don't think I've ever needed to install windows updates twice in a week. Maybe twice in a month if there's a major issue. But that report is counting Adobe Reader updates. Java updates. Firefox updates. That annoying update that tells me I need to ugrade TortoiseSVN from version 1.6.4.12.a to 1.6.4.12.b. Etc.

Reboot Patches (2, Insightful)

Khomar (529552) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362660)

I don't really mind patches. They are usually quiet and seamless, working in the background and not interfering with my work.

The real killers are the updates that require a reboot, and these seem to be on the rise of late. Even worse, these are typically for software that I do not use (IE, Windows Media Player, etc.), but I am required to interrupt my work to reboot my machine so that I can be "secure".

Level of Expectation (0, Troll)

gpronger (1142181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362672)

For those involved in technology, one of our flaws is the level of expectation we have for the average citizen to be able to cope with. I recall a security expert stating that the average person should be able to memorize a ridiculously large number of random passwords. I developed a strong understanding of controlling memory allocation (back in the early '90's) on PC's, not for some esoteric application, but to get the games my preschoolers were playing to work.

It led me to the perspective, that all things being equal, it is fairly easy to argue, that for the home computer market, the "good-guy" lost (as in Apple vs DOS and Windows PCs) simply because Apple did not expect the level of user expertize and intervention to get the things to work.

So, with this situation, though the /. crowd will not be having issues with this aspect of maintaining your PC, it's a lot to ask someone with less expertise. If you consider this perspective, it may be more understandable how and why there are so many PC's doing double-duty as part of "Bot-Nets".

But most are WoW Addon patches! (1)

jayveekay (735967) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362718)

World of Warcraft Addons get updated at an insane rate, almost as insane as the rate at which a new WoW update patch breaks many of them.

running windows "commando" (2, Interesting)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362874)

A friend of mine, runs his PC "commando": no virus software, no firewall, no patches, nothing. He's non-technical and assumes he is going to get a virus no matter what he does and it's just a waste of time pricking around with all that stuff, so he just reinstalls Windows about once every two months when it starts running slow from the viruses. Well, it's a daring tactic, but it seems to work for him.

Switching is easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31362880)

I am with Linus on this one
Linus is right
The man makes sense
He is absolutely correct on this one

that's it? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31362984)

The typical home user running Windows faces the 'unreasonable' task of patching software an average of every five days

Only once every five days? That seems rather mild to me...

Between Windows, Firefox, Office, Java, Adobe Reader, my antivirus, VLC, Pidgin, VirtualBox, EVE, Songbird, and Steam it seems like I'm patching something on a daily basis. And that's just my home machine.

Throw in the fileserver at home... My workstation at the office... My work netbook... And the assortment of servers I'm responsible for... And I'm definitely patching something on a daily basis.

Computers exist to serve people! Not the reverse. (4, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31363022)

Windows can patch itself to hell. Firefox and Adobe too, for all I care -

AS LONG AS THEY DON'T INTERRUPT, STEAL MY FOCUS, PUT UP CRAP ERROR MESSAGES OR REBOOT WITHOUT ASKING!

There's a portable at home I open only on weekends. Want to guess what happens for the first 30 minutes after I turn it on? Yup. An unusable computer that's *updating* itself. Java. Adobe. Firefox. Firefox *add-ins", Windows, and possibly, the current timeline in which I exist.

Needless to say, ALL of these want me to agree/disagree, actually *view* their updates, click a modal dialog, or reboot - repeatedly. I really don't care if updates have to happen, BUT KEEP THEM OUT OF MY FACE.

And don't slow the computer to a crawl. If the update takes all day, do I care? Not if it doesn't interfere with me.

Computers exist to serve ME. Make the computer wait, NOT ME!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...