The openSUSE developers are looking at ways to make software updates smoother and less likely to break existing functionality. This is especially important on servers where administrators need their operating system to be reliable, but may also need to apply regular security fixes. openSUSE's approach to fixing this problem is called Transactional Updates and it allows new updates to be installed in a separate file system snapshot which can be activated when the computer reboots and rolled back if anything goes wrong. "Under the hood, we have worked hard to keep Transactional Updates simple. We are utilising the same Btrfs, Snapper, and Zypper technologies we know and trust by default in openSUSE and SLE. At its heart, Transactional Updates does something very similar to our traditional snapshots with rollback. But with Transactional Updates it never touches the running system. Instead of patching the current system, the transactional-update tool creates a new, empty, snapshot. All of the operations required by the update are carried out into that snapshot, ensuring the current system is untouched with no changes impacting the running system. At the end of the update, assuming the update is successful, this completed snapshot is marked as the new default. These updates then take effect when the system is rebooted." The announcement also mentions openSUSE 15 will offer an optional read-only root file system than can be updated with the transactional-update tool.
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