Bug report: Unable to update modal dialogue is not helpful

If running zotero as a non-root user and it was installed by root, or running zotero from flatpak, every time an updated version becomes available for download, a dialog box appears saying "Unable to update" and telling me there is a new version but that I cannot install it. This occurs rather often, due to Zotero's highly iterative development process.

Generally the problem is either

1) not real and a new update will install itself (flatpak) or
2) no solvable by the user and possibly not real if the sysadmin has their own update system in place (root install)

Regardless of whether the problem is real or not, there is generally no action the user can take to fix it themselves.

The dialog box would be helpful to receive exactly once, when a sysadmin has installed it for you on a locked-down machine but neglected to arrange for updates, and they need to be informed of that fact.

However, AFAIK there is no need for the repeated dialog warnings. Unless I am missing something? Perhaps there is a hidden preference?

Ideally there should be a checkbox saying "please don't bother me again" on the dialog box, and/or the option to disable this warning entirely at build time for builds intended not to be self-updating.

This is currently a barrier to my school installing Zotero school-wide; they don't want zotero to issue endless complaints that will lead to users raising support tickets.
  • edited October 17, 2019
    The update system comes from Firefox, so you can basically just do whatever you do for Firefox.

    A package that handles its own updates should disable automatic updates by setting app.update.enabled to false in the bundled prefs.js. An admin install can do the same or, depending on how user accounts are set up, add it to prefs.js in the user's Zotero profile directory.

    (There might be other ways to do this in an enterprise environment, though note that an upcoming version of Zotero will be based on Firefox 60, which would require the newer methods linked from there.)
  • Hi,

    Sorry but I didn't get the answer.

    I installed Zotero by Flatpack (https://wiki.debian.org/Zotero) and when it tries to update a message of "Unable to update" appears saying I haven't the permission to install it and recommending that I change the directory of Zotero...

    Could you please help me to fix it?
  • The answer is that this is something the maintainers of the Flatpack package should handle, so please contact them and point them to this thread.
  • edited January 15, 2020

  • The alternatives are to use the tarball (and typically install into a directory controlled by your user) or to use a different package, e.g. the more actively maintained deb:
  • I made it!

    Just using the command: flatpak update org.zotero.Zotero

    (source: https://github.com/flathub/org.zotero.Zotero/issues/6)

    Thanks again!
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