[development] automatic updates are so cool(?)

Gabor Hojtsy gabor at hojtsy.hu
Tue May 16 14:53:03 UTC 2006

Trae McCombs wrote:
> What I think would make Drupal THE killer CMS app is quite simply if we
> were to have a button somewhere in the admin section(Prompts the user
> only every 24hrs), displayed prominently that says:
> [ 3 new updates - Upgrade your Drupal! ]
> let me digress for a second...
> I use Ubuntu Linux.  I use it because it's super duper easy.  It's
> easier than Windows and OS X IMHO.  I've used Linux for 10 years now.  I
> can't code.  Anyway, I use Ubuntu because of it being easy. 
> Mostly each morning I'll see a button on my Gnome panel that let's me
> know some action is needed in order to make sure my system is
> up-to-date.  I click it, it does it's magic, and poof, my system is
> happy.  I don't have to touch config files, and am not even prompted to
> interact with the process.
> I don't see why we can have the same sort of system with Drupal.
> When I clicked on the "Upgraded your Drupal!" button, or link, it would
> go through and say:  Please enter your UID1 username and password.
> [provided said user was in right role for upgrade notification]
> Performing upgrades... (grabs and does stuff in the background: makes a
> diff of files or whatever to use as a restore method if something goes
> wrong, backups db etc..)
> Presents the user with:
> Upgrade complete!
> Something that's super simple, easy and "Trae Proof"[tm] :)
> That is what we need.

Unless you are interested in wide open security holes and completely
breaking sites, this is probably not what you need. Now, you know the
backup+upgrade process is manual, so that

 - if something goes wrong, then you can roll back your site to a
   previous state, your original files and database values are not
   lost. Of course we can do automatic backups and rollbacks,
   if you trust the code this much - I don't (see also the next point)

 - your PHP files need to be writable by the webserver, which
   means that any malicious code which ends up on the webserver
   (in a typical shared hosting, and/or apache module based setup)
   can modify your PHP code, ie. somebody else on the same server
   can easily modify your site code, or some bug in the site code
   can be used to modify your code, or a PHP block/node can modify
   your site source code, etc.

What a dream!

Ps. this was also discussed here numerous times before.


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