Linux Mint Update CLI

I like Linux Mint. The only thing which I was missing was command line version of mintUpdate, so I decided to write one.

First I started to analyze existing version of mintUpdate (in version 17.1 “Rebecca”) and then I “converted” it into CLI version.

So here it is – brand new – I placed it on github where you can DOWNLOAD it. Please take it as proof of concept, it has a version number 0.1 and I wanted to try if I can write it at all. I tried to implement all the functions GUI version has and I tried to do it with minimal number of changes to the original code (I took slightly more relaxed approach at the end). It is a pitty mintUpdate does not have it’s algorithms in separate library, to create mintUpdateCLI would be much faster and easier, but it wasn’t as bad at the end considering I managed to do it in several weeks in my free time only.

Also before I show you how to use it, let me explain about updates. Linux Mint updater ( groups packages into groups. Grouped updates are called just “updates” but I introduced term “package group” so it is more clear what kind of update it is – if it is single package update or group update which may include one or more single packages.

Usage is simple – download it, change permissions so it is executable and run it.

basic usage is: list – lists package groups for update update
– updates all packages available (as per levels specified) install packagegroup1 packagegroup2 ... – installs only specified package groups

If you do not specify any arguments, help with all options is displayed. I will post some screenshots as well.

It will ask for user password whenever it needs it. It also uses apt-get instead of synaptic (as it is CLI version). I was also surprised to find out apt-get does not support the list of packages to be installed in form of a file – command line is the only option. Luckily Linux Mint command line limit is huge – 262144 bytes (it can be checked by getconf ARG_MAX) and it can be adjusted as kernel parameter if needed.

In my view consolidation of mintUpdate and mintUpdateCLI is a phase 2, where common shared library containing only algorithms is more than desired. Otherwise if any bugs are fixed/new logic is introduced it would have to be changed twice – once for GUI, second time for CLI part. Also I left interaction between CLI and GUI versions open – for example once the system is updated via CLI part, it could send for example sighup to the GUI part so it performs refresh (or performs refresh at the time user interacts with it again).

I’m looking forward for feedback.

Enjoy :)

——————————————–Bottom line:——————————————–
Whilst working on it, I found several Linux and programming anti-patterns.

The first anti-pattern is that there was no CLI version of mintUpdate. In my view every GUI basic component should have CLI equivalent – that’s one of the things which makes Linux different from Windows right? I feel I can allow myself this small rant as I’m actually fixing this by providing CLI version. By the way – NetworkManager started in the same way…

Other anti-patterns regarding mintUpdate are related to programming. I was surprised to find out how are data, algorithms and gtk code mixed together. Another surprise was related to logging. I found nice example describing python logging here. Luckily we live in open-source World, so this can be fixed as well :)


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6 Responses to Linux Mint Update CLI

  1. Pablo says:

    I don’t see there is a way to update using only package levels recommended by the Linuxmint team. For example kernels are usually given level 5 and are by default not installed. It’d be great if the update command followed the gui default behavior. An option like –all could update everything.

  2. Mike Kranidis says:

    Dear Sir,
    first of all I would like to say a *BIG* thank you for all of your effort put in this missing facility of linuxmint.

    Today 25/06/2015 I downloaded your version from here and I tried to see how well is working to my LinuxMint 17.1 Cinnamon 32Bit installation, fully updated since two days ago.
    Well, today was nice because the GUI mintupdate (version 4.8.4) reported me several (not installed yet) updates.
    Having this as a fact, I run your program (that I put it inside to /usr/lib/linuxmint/mintUpdate/ directory.
    Everything was looking fine but when I gave “ update” 10 seconds later it gave me: “Your system is up to date” BUT it is not!
    I never installed from GUI mintupdate any update and to verify that I even reboot my system and again I checked using GUI mintupdate. The updates was there, waiting for my decision to make these updates but continuous to give me “Your system is up to date”. Do you know why? Do you need me to try things for you in order to find the possible bug?

    At your disposal.

    Best Regards,
    Mike Kranidis

  3. Phil says:

    Thanks for contributing this. Obviously mintUpdateCLI will be very useful for remote administration. I put it to work within 5 minutes of reading about its existence.

  4. cma says:

    This really interests me as I manage a lot of Mint desktops and need to be able to do remote updates. Using aptitude or apt-get ignores the package levels that the Update Manager uses. Have you tried this out on 17.2? I’ll give it a go when I get a chance! Thanks!

  5. Frikki says:

    Awesome! It’s rather amazing that there isn’t already a CLI version included per default.

  6. Definitely doesn’t work in Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya. I so wish that I did. I’m maintaining four geographically remote machines running Mint, with the likelihood of adding more. There are no error messages. Just tells me that “Your system is up to date”

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