Regular app updates are important for any Linux system. So you can easily update an app or all apps on Linux.
It's a math fact: apps will annoy you about updates. However, you should not ignore such prompts as updates often contain security patches, bug fixes, and new features that make the software more useful.
We've talked about the basics of updating Linux and Linux software, but you might just want to quickly update an application on your computer and get on with your life.
Updating a Debian or Ubuntu system
For these times, Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu have a simple terminal command that you can use to update everything on your computer:
sudo apt install (package name here)
This command simply looks for updates for the specified software and installs them. If you don't know the package name of the app you want to update, you can run the following command to list all the packages on your system:
matching search (package)
There are a few more commands that you can use to speed up this process if you want to update everything at once. Running the following command will get the latest information about the software on your computer:
sudo apt update
When you do this, enter the following command to update all software to a newer version.
Sudo Apt Upgrade
The system will list everything that was updated by this command and ask you to confirm this by typing it Y..
Update packages on Red Hat distributions
If you are using a Red Hat-based distribution such as CentOS, the commands to update your system will be slightly different. This is mainly because these systems use the Yum package manager.
To install a single app on such distributions:
sudo yum install (PACKAGE)
Enter the following to update your system:
sudo yum update
Update all packages under OpenSUSE
OpenSUSE is famous for its menu-driven YaST tool. However, you can also update your system from the command line using the Zypper tool:
sudo zypper update
As with other package managers, you can only update a single package with zypper:
sudo zypper update (package)
sudo zypper up (package)
Issue the above command without the package name to update all packages on your system.
sudo zypper update
sudo zypper on
As you can see, package managers are pretty easy to use, with commands that are easy to remember. If you don't know the name of your package, every package manager usually has a search option to help you find it.
Installing updates on Arch Linux
Arch's package manager, Pacman, is less mnemonic, but easy to use.
To update a single package:
sudo pacman -S (package)
The -S Switch stands for synchronizeThis is what the developers call updating.
Updating the system is also a bit obscure compared to other distributions, but you can remember it pretty quickly:
Sudo Pacman -Syu
The -y Option stands for Updateor download a fresh copy of the master package database from the repository, and -u to the Sysupgradeor update outdated packages on the system.
Keeping your Linux system up to date is easy
That's it! Now you have everything you need to quickly update apps on Linux right from the terminal. If you are using a different distribution not covered here, or just want more details, see the documentation for your system.
This tweet from Mahmoud Tantawy reminds us why it's important to keep our systems up to date:
"$ apt-get update && apt-get upgrade" per day keeps the hackers away … or at least makes it more difficult: D.
– Mahmoud Tantawy (@mtantawy) April 1, 2016
If you want to keep your Linux installation to a minimum, it can be helpful to know which applications are important. Even a novice Linux user is unaware of the various software they can install on their system. For such users, it is recommended to install a Linux distribution that comes with basic applications.
Photo credit: arka38 / Shutterstock
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About the author
(14 articles published)
David is a freelance writer living in the Pacific Northwest but originally from the Bay Area. He has been a technology enthusiast since childhood. David's interests include reading, watching quality TV shows and movies, retro games, and collecting records.
By David Delony
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