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[LUG] Fwd: Re: Upgrades


-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Re: [LUG] Upgrades
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2017 17:51:31 +0000
From: Neil <barnaby@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: mr meowski <mr.meowski@xxxxxxxx>

On 07/02/17 17:08, mr meowski wrote:
On 07/02/17 09:00, Neil via list wrote:
I have been using Linux for many years, but I still get puzzled about
updates to the software. Perhaps someone could help.

Is it any wonder that I am confused? If anyone could help me here I
would be very grateful. Others on the list may also find it useful.

Well the other replies have you got you pretty well covered here but if
I may add my two pennies worth... Firstly though, you didn't specify
*exactly* what system you're using - I know you use Ubuntu but which
version specifically? It makes a considerable difference as 16.04 for
example will usually have much more recent packages available than 14.04
in the standard Canonical provided repos.

My apologies to the group. When I set out to type my email I absolutely intended to include my distro. Sigh, another senior moment.

My current distro is Xubuntu 16.04 LTS.

May I also add that I am happy to use a terminal screen as opposed to a GUI. I was brought up on DOS, long before there was such a thing as a GUI.

Every single day pretty much the first thing I do after unlocking my
system (it's never turned off) is run an aliased command that does:

sudo apt update && sudo apt dist-upgrade

Notice the lack of "-get" in the command: modern usage of apt mostly
omits that part. If you try running "sudo apt-get update" and "sudo apt
update" one after the other in a terminal you'll spot the difference
immediately. There's no harm in sticking with the 'old' -get usage but
there's also no point in sticking with it either.

Thanks for that, in future I will use apt instead of apt-get. I notice you use dist-upgrade instead of just upgrade. Is that important?

Some other handy commands are:

apt-cache policy $PACKAGE-NAME

This will give you the status and source of any given $PACKAGE-NAME.

apt-cache policy | grep http | awk '{print $2 $3}' | sort -u

This provides a neat sorted list of whatever apt sources you have
configured including PPAs. Apt surprisingly doesn't have a native way of
cleanly displaying this unlike yum/dnf/zypper/etc.

Speaking of PPAs, there is no harm in using them: in fact, they are
probably one of the chief draws of using Ubuntu vs Debian. Just be aware
that not all PPAs are created equal. Official or semi-official PPAs are
well curated, frequently updated and very useful indeed to get software
that Canonical either doesn't ship at all or only provides old/rubbish
versions of. Libreoffice is a classic example.

Thanks for the advice.

If you *must* use a GUI tool to interact with system software on a
Debian based system, do yourself a favour and install the good old
fashioned synaptic tool.

I do use synaptic as my GUI tool for system software.

The last points you asked about are standalone DEB files: avoid these at
all cost

Thanks again. I will steer clear of deb files in future. And I will forget about the snapd 'solution' too.

Hope that clears things up a little maybe and gives you at least one
rock solid option going forward: as ever, I recommend using the terminal
as the UNIX gods intended. It's the fastest, most powerful and flexible
and easiest to debug if anything goes wrong. apt update && apt
dist-upgrade every single day first thing and all will be well with the

Again, as I said above, I am very happy with the terminal.

Thanks again,


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