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The Software Upgrade Threadmill and Life’s crazy chain of dependencies

Filed under
Development
GNU
Linux

Modern software development happens at a breakneck pace, and while staying on ancient versions (hello, Debian Stable / Ubuntu LTS / Android users) is not really a safe and realistic option anymore (try reporting bugs without getting laughed out of the room by upstream maintainers), it is becoming a challenge for users to keep up. When it works, it works… but when something breaks down in the upgrade threadmill, the chain of dependencies to get back on track can become absolutely ludicrous and throw your digital life in turmoil. Just like needing to replace that one light bulb…

Case in point: I’m finally publishing this article in 2022, while I initially meant to blog about this way back in 2017… but more stuff kept breaking all the time, resetting my productivity and accidentally adding more potential content for this blog post. More value for you, dear reader!

As someone who has been running Linux for 19 years (as of 2022), I think I know my way around most hurdles you can possibly encounter. Undoubtedly, running Linux-based operating systems on desktop/laptop computers has overall gotten incredibly easier compared to 2003, but also, as one gradually becomes highly dependent on specific tools and committed to well-oiled workflows, the upgrade threadmill can become a real high-stakes pursuit.

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