How to update software on linux

Software is designed to have a certain life. After that time, developers often release an updated version. This is great news for users, as it means you get access to the latest features and improvements. But how do you update software on linux?

Linux is more than just what runs your favorite websites, it’s also a powerful operating system that has a lot of benefits, like better stability, security and software updates. In this guide you’ll learn how to install, run and update software on your Linux computer.

This tutorial is going to show you how to update software on linux.

To start, open up the terminal.

Next, type in “sudo apt-get update” and hit enter.

The terminal will ask you for your password, so type it in and hit enter again.

You should see some text scroll across the screen that looks something like this:

Hit Enter again to go back to your command prompt. Now type in “sudo apt-get upgrade” and hit enter. The terminal will ask if you want to continue with the upgrade process; type “y” then hit enter. You’ll see more text scroll across your screen—this time, it may take a few minutes or even longer depending on how many updates there are available for your particular system; just let it do its thing! When it’s done, you’ll be back at a command prompt, so enter “exit” and then press Enter twice.

There are two methods for updating software on Linux. You can either use the terminal, or you can use a graphical user interface (GUI).

The terminal is the command line interface that lets you interact with your computer directly. It’s also available on Mac OS X and Windows, though these operating systems have GUIs instead of terminals.

The GUI is a program that lets you interact with your computer by clicking buttons and choosing options from menus, rather than typing commands into a text box.

To update applications in Linux, you can use either method:

Terminal Method:

First, open up the terminal with Ctrl + Alt + T (or Cmd + Spacebar + T if you’re using macOS). Then type “sudo apt-get update” followed by Enter. This will download any new updates from Ubuntu’s repository onto your computer. Then type “sudo apt-get upgrade” followed by Enter to apply those updates to all of the applications installed on your computer.

GUI Method:

Open up Software Updater from System Settings or Applications (depending on which version of Ubuntu you’re using). Then click Check for Updates to see if there are any new versions available for any applications

Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu Linux has become one of the most popular of all the Linux distributions. And through the process of updating a system, you should be able to tell exactly why this is the case. Ubuntu is very user friendly. Ubuntu uses two different tools for system update:

  • apt-get: Command line tool.
  • Update Manager: GUI tool.
Ubuntu Update Manager

The Update Manger is a nearly 100% automatic tool. With this tool you will not have to routinely check to see if there are updates available. Instead you will know updates are available because the Update Manager will open on your desktop (see Figure 1) as soon as the updates depending upon their type:

  • Security updates: Daily
  • Non-security updates: Weekly

If you want to manually check for updates, you can do this by clicking the Administration sub-menu of the System menu and then selecting the Update Manager entry. When the Update Manager opens click the Check button to see if there are updates available.

Figure 1 shows a listing of updates for a Ubuntu 9.10 installation. As you can see there are both Important Security Updates as well as Recommended Update. If you want to get information about a particular update you can select the update and then click on the Description of update dropdown.

In order to update the packages follow these steps:

  1. Check the updates you want to install. By default all updates are selected.
  2. Click the Install Updates button.
  3. Enter your user (sudo) password.
  4. Click OK.

The updates will proceed and you can continue on with  your work. Now some updates may require either you to log out of your desktop and log back in, or to reboot the machine. There are is a new tool in development (Ksplice) that allow even the update of a kernel to not require a reboot.
Once all of the updates are complete the Update Manage main window will return reporting that Your system is up to date.

Updating via command line

Now let’s take a look at the command line tools for updating your system. The Ubuntu package management system is called apt. Apt is a very powerful tool that can completely manage your systems packages via command line. Using the command line tool has one drawback – in order to check to see if you have updates, you have to run it manually. Let’s take a look at how to update your system with the help of Apt. Follow these steps:

  1. Open up a terminal window.
  2. Issue the command sudo apt-get upgrade.
  3. Enter your user’s password.
  4. Look over the list of available updates (see Figure 2) and decide if you want to go through with the entire upgrade.
  5. To accept all updates click the ‘y’ key (no quotes) and hit Enter.
  6. Watch as the update happens.

That’s it. Your system is now up to date. Let’s take a look at how the same process happens on Fedora (Fedora 12 to be exact).

Fedora Linux

Fedora is a direct descendant of Red Hat Linux, so it is the beneficiary of the Red Hat Package Management system (rpm). Like Ubuntu, Fedora can be upgraded by:

  • yum: Command line tool.
  • GNOME (or KDE) PackageKit: GUI tool.
GNOME PackageKit

Depending upon your desktop, you will either use the GNOME or the KDE front-end for PackageKit. In order to open up this tool you simply go to the Administration sub-menu of the System menu and select the Software Update entry.  When the tool opens (see Figure 3) you will see the list of updates. To get information about a particular update all you need to do is to select a specific package and the information will be displayed in the bottom pane.

To go ahead with the update click the Install Updates button. As the process happens a progress bar will indicate where GNOME (or KDE) PackageKit is in the steps. The steps are:

  1. Resolving dependencies.
  2. Downloading packages.
  3. Testing changes.
  4. Installing updates.

When the process is complete, GNOME (or KDE) PackageKit will report that your system is update. Click the OK button when prompted.

Now let’s take a look at upgrading Fedora via the command line. As stated earlier, this is done with the help of the yum command. In order to take care of this, follow these steps:

Updating with the help of yum

  1. Open up a terminal window (Do this by going to the System Tools sub-menu of the Applications menu and select Terminal).
  2. Enter the su command to change to the super user.
  3. Type your super user password and hit Enter.
  4. Issue the command yum update and yum will check to see what packages are available for update.
  5. Look through the listing of updates (see Figure 4).
  6. If you want to go through with the update enter ‘y’ (no quotes) and hit Enter.
  7. Sit back and watch the updates happen.
  8. Exit out of the root user command prompt by typing “exit” (no quotes) and hitting Enter.
  9. Close the terminal when complete.

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