Another problem with Fedora package management for offline users

Previously, I talked about the problem of Fedora package management (yum in that case) for offline users: lack of out-of-box support for using installation media to install programs. Then, I provided a simple rpm package to make the process of enabling Fedora DVD as a repository for yum a bit easier.
Today, I remembered another so annoying problem with PackageKit (not yum in this case): it does not distinguish between online and offline repositories (with “file://” at the beginning of their baseurl), and so, with default configuration it doesn’t let you install any packages from your offline repositories if you are not connected to any networks. It says: cannot install packages when offline!
This is not acceptable at all. First, I want to install a package in an offline repository (like Fedora DVD) and so I don’t need network connection for it. Second, PackageKit is satisfied when you are connected to ANY networks, like a simple local LAN between 2 computers (one of them could be a virtual one, so you have 1 real computer anyway!).  In such cases, you can’t still access the online repositories.
Therefore, I think the current effort of PackageKit in detecting network availability is not so bright, and also doesn’t provide almost any benefit (it is not useful). On the other hand, it is problematic in the case I mentioned (using offline repositories). I wonder why such a facility, which not only doesn’t provide much goodness but also is problematic, should be turned on be default.
Personally, I think it should be disabled until it is at least not “in the way”.

Anyway, if you face such problem now, you can work around it using the following options in /etc/PackageKit/PackageKit.conf:


I filled a bug against it long time ago, but if I remember correctly that bug was closed saying that such options are available. But I should probably reopen it, since I still think that it is definitely a bug.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Victor Bogado da Silva Lins on March 24, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    First, let me say that this is definitely a bug, and I am not involved with Network Manager development. So this is just advice, I’m not sure if it is good or bad, though… 🙂

    Maybe if you rewrite the description of the bug it will be less likely to be closed. I would describe it as a problem in detecting the offline repos.


  2. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. It solves a quite real problem for the vast majority of users: updates getting attempted with no network connection.

    As for offline usage, let’s face it: a working Internet connection is basically a requirement to use Fedora. If you install packages from the DVD, you’ll get old versions, e.g. KDE 4.1.2 (F10) or 4.0.3 (F9) when we have 4.2.1 in the repo. The DVD also contains only a relatively small subset of the packages in Fedora.


    • Such update attempts will simply fail! It does not prevent a user to get a legitimate feature!!

      | As for offline usage, let’s face it: a working Internet
      |connection is basically a requirement to use Fedora.
      Really?!! So, a 4 GB Fedora DVD is not usable without Internet connection?! Surprising!! So, we don’t need Fedora DVD at all! Why not stick to 1CD Live spins of Fedora?
      I don’t agree with you at all. Fedora DVD must be usable online. Not every Fedora user wants to have latest version of packages all the time (It seems that you have good internet connection! But there are many who do not have it).
      Fedora DVD content is a relatively small subset of all Fedora packages, but 4GB software is not small at all!

      Finally, consider that someone have a full copy of Fedora repository on DVD. Shouldn’t it be usable?!

      Yes, it is a feature, but a buggy and dumb feature! Network connection does not mean repository accessibility anyway.


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