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Re: Request for feature: more flexible setup routine

On 07/24/2010 07:10 PM, Marshall Abrams wrote:
> I am *not* going to install 1.7.  Not now.   I'm in the
> middle of a project.  I just wanted one little tool.

It sounds like you're still running Cygwin 1.5.  While it's no longer
supported, you can download setup-legacy.exe from and use
that to update your installation and avoid the full upgrade to Cygwin
1.7.  Keep in mind, however, that Cygwin 1.5 and its associated packages
have not seen any maintenance since December 2009.  Given your
situation, that will likely suit you fine.

> What I hope will be added is some way to allow setup.exe to look farther
> back in the past, or automatically ignore most package releases.
> Something--something so that I can get the functionality of setup.exe
> for one or two packages when I haven't updated anything for
> while--because it was working fine!

Google for the Cygwin Time Machine.  That should let you peer back in
time with quite a bit of granularity and install what you find using an
unmodified setup.exe.  I think you may need to grab a pre-Cygwin 1.7
version of setup.exe from somewhere, though, in order to make use of the
time machine.  Maybe the time machine will have something appropriate
you can use.

>   And I don't fix what's not broken.

What you see as not broken, may be quite broken for a newer package
which has a dependency you refused to update.  Deference to the package
maintainers is well-advised.

> One time in five something is
> installed that screws up something I had working.  That's not a
> complaint; it's inevitable with a complex system.  I also don't
> regularly upgrade everything, because when I do I sometimes have to fix
> something major, or just fix some packages that has been "improved" in
> such a way that I can no longer work the way I want without undoing
> something and recustomizing it.  Again: Inevitable with a complex system.)

I think it's pretty abnormal to have problems resulting from updates in
1 out of every 5 update attempts.  I update all my installed packages
once every few weeks, and when I add packages, I allow setup to update
all the others as necessary.  I rarely experience failures or
incompatibilities with my configurations, but my coworkers who virtually
never update frequently have the troubles you're trying to avoid when
they are eventually forced to do so.

Your update difficulties are likely the result of a combination of
manually holding package revisions back and updating infrequently.  In
the first case you risk missing critical package updates, and in the
second case you will most likely accumulate a large number of poorly
documented migration steps which must be performed all at once in the
proper sequence.  You might find it advantageous to perform full updates
on a monthly schedule so that you can plan for possible downtime and
take the work in sips rather than drink from a fire hose.

If you're really worried about being unable to roll back an unsuccessful
update, copy your entire Cygwin installation directory to a backup
location before running setup.exe and then perform a full update of all
installed packages.  If the update breaks something, restore the
installation directory from the backup.  Then retry the update,
restricting what gets updated, until you get the best behavior possible.
 This should work for both Cygwin 1.5 and 1.7.

Good luck.


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