I have a Fedora 20 installation in a VirtualBox virtual machine.

Now it notifies me of "OS Updates", that "Includes performance, stability and security improvements for all users", and I have the option to "Restart & Install".

However, clicking on "OS Updates" brings up the contents of the "OS Updates", and I can't find a new kernel, libc, or systemd in the list of packages to update.

So, what is it that calls for a restart?

These packages are listed when I issue sudo yum update :

 chkconfig                       x86_64 1.3.62-1.fc20             updates 172 k
 chrony                          x86_64 1.30-2.fc20               updates 262 k
 emacs-filesystem                noarch 1:24.3-24.fc20            updates  58 k
 file                            x86_64 5.19-4.fc20               updates  59 k
 file-libs                       x86_64 5.19-4.fc20               updates 401 k
 gdb                             x86_64 7.7.1-18.fc20             updates 2.6 M
 ghostscript                     x86_64 9.14-4.fc20               updates 4.4 M
 hwdata                          noarch 0.269-1.fc20              updates 1.3 M
 libndp                          x86_64 1.4-1.fc20                updates  30 k
 libreport                       x86_64 2.2.3-2.fc20              updates 405 k
 libreport-anaconda              x86_64 2.2.3-2.fc20              updates  43 k
 libreport-cli                   x86_64 2.2.3-2.fc20              updates  47 k
 libreport-fedora                x86_64 2.2.3-2.fc20              updates  40 k
 libreport-filesystem            x86_64 2.2.3-2.fc20              updates  35 k
 libreport-gtk                   x86_64 2.2.3-2.fc20              updates  94 k
 libreport-plugin-bugzilla       x86_64 2.2.3-2.fc20              updates  79 k
 libreport-plugin-kerneloops     x86_64 2.2.3-2.fc20              updates  45 k
 libreport-plugin-logger         x86_64 2.2.3-2.fc20              updates  48 k
 libreport-plugin-reportuploader x86_64 2.2.3-2.fc20              updates  52 k
 libreport-plugin-ureport        x86_64 2.2.3-2.fc20              updates  52 k
 libreport-python                x86_64 2.2.3-2.fc20              updates  63 k
 libreport-python3               x86_64 2.2.3-2.fc20              updates  49 k
 libreport-web                   x86_64 2.2.3-2.fc20              updates  46 k
 libserf                         x86_64 1.3.7-1.fc20              updates  53 k
 libteam                         x86_64 1.12-1.fc20               updates  46 k
 perl-Socket                     x86_64 1:2.015-1.fc20            updates  50 k
 poppler-data                    noarch 0.4.7-1.fc20              updates 2.2 M
 ppp                             x86_64 2.4.5-34.fc20             updates 359 k
 selinux-policy                  noarch 3.12.1-180.fc20           updates 351 k
 selinux-policy-targeted         noarch 3.12.1-180.fc20           updates 3.8 M
 sqlite                          x86_64 3.8.6-2.fc20              updates 433 k
 teamd                           x86_64 1.12-1.fc20               updates 108 k
 tzdata                          noarch 2014f-1.fc20              updates 430 k
 tzdata-java                     noarch 2014f-1.fc20              updates 147 k
 vim-minimal                     x86_64 2:7.4.402-1.fc20          updates 439 k
 zeitgeist-libs                  x86_64 0.9.16-0.2.20140808.git.ce9affa.fc20
                                                                  updates 141 k

Transaction Summary
  • needs-restarting from yum-utils can tell you what programs need to be restarted after an update. Jan 10, 2015 at 18:16

2 Answers 2


Fedora running GNOME uses simple heuristics to work out if an update is a OS/System update or an application update. If the package has a .desktop file (which are normally used to populate the DE's menus) it is considered an user application and can be updated without a reboot. Without this file, it is considered a OS or System update and a 'Update and Restart' is offered.

You can avoid this by running yum update from the command prompt.

  • 1
    So this basically means that users that don't update manually with yum must reboot to install updates to commands such as file, grep, find, gcc, tar, make, ssh or similar tools?
    – MattBianco
    Aug 27, 2014 at 7:37
  • @MattBianco: No, it's a feature introduced from Fedora 18, See: fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/OfflineSystemUpdates
    – cuonglm
    Aug 27, 2014 at 7:40
  • @Gnouc: can the offline-feature be turned off? As in, still prompt me when there are updates, but install them online (like Ubuntu), and let me worry about any problems it might cause when updating a running app?
    – MattBianco
    Aug 27, 2014 at 7:49
  • @MattBianco - I've not analyzed the list of updates offered enough to be able comment with confidence; but it does seem to offer a 'reboot' for the most trivial of udpates. I just fire up yum everytime I'm notified of updates. Aug 27, 2014 at 7:50
  • @MattBianco: You still can use sudo yum update manually. From the link I gave you: Note that this feature does not prevent you from using yum and other commandline tools to install updates whenever you want to. We also differentiate updates of 'OS components' (which we want to do in this offline fashion) from application updates and installations, which should still be possible from the UI without restarting the system.
    – cuonglm
    Aug 27, 2014 at 7:56

It a feature from Fedora 18 and above, called OfflineSystemUpdates.

This makes updating of system components more reliable by doing it in an minimal, controlled environment.

The "Offline" means OS updates we mean package installations and updates that are run with the system booted into a special system update mode, in order to avoid problems related to conflicts of libraries and services that are currently running with those on disk.

The system update mode is implemented by booting into a special target. The target installs the downloaded updates and then reboots back into the regular default target. Safeguards are in place to ensure that we reboot back into the default target even if the update fails or the update process crashes.

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