How often to update/upgrade?

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How often to update/upgrade?

Postby PawnTakesKing on Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:49 pm

I realize I'm flooding the boards tonight with all sorts of newb questions, so for that I apologize. A couple more and I'll stop.

As recommended by others on these boards, I've set MintUpdate to Levels 1 and 2 only, and I'm running "apt-get update" and "apt-get upgrade" through the terminal to keep my system updated. With LMDE being a rolling release, how often should I do this? Daily? Once a month?

Also, what's the difference between "update" and "upgrade"? I'm guessing "update" downloads the necessary packages, and "upgrade" actually installs them?
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Re: How often to update/upgrade?

Postby vincent on Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:38 am

From apt-get's man page:

update
update is used to resynchronize the package index files from their
sources. The indexes of available packages are fetched from the
location(s) specified in /etc/apt/sources.list. For example, when
using a Debian archive, this command retrieves and scans the
Packages.gz files, so that information about new and updated
packages is available. An update should always be performed before
an upgrade or dist-upgrade. Please be aware that the overall
progress meter will be incorrect as the size of the package files
cannot be known in advance.

upgrade
upgrade is used to install the newest versions of all packages
currently installed on the system from the sources enumerated in
/etc/apt/sources.list. Packages currently installed with new
versions available are retrieved and upgraded; under no
circumstances are currently installed packages removed, or packages
not already installed retrieved and installed. New versions of
currently installed packages that cannot be upgraded without
changing the install status of another package will be left at
their current version. An update must be performed first so that
apt-get knows that new versions of packages are available.


So, basically, apt-get update synchronizes your list of packages with that of the repositories you've listed in /etc/apt/sources.list; apt-get upgrade will then proceed to evaluate that list, determine which packages have newer versions available, resolve dependencies, and then proceed to install those updates.

LMDE is a rolling-release; not only are packages updated often, but packages are often removed/replaced/added to the archives. Therefore, I highly recommend running
Code: Select all
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

instead of apt-get upgrade. Same logic applies to mintUpdate, if you prefer using a GUI; all updates should be checked and installed.

dist-upgrade
dist-upgrade in addition to performing the function of upgrade,
also intelligently handles changing dependencies with new versions
of packages; apt-get has a "smart" conflict resolution system, and
it will attempt to upgrade the most important packages at the
expense of less important ones if necessary. So, dist-upgrade
command may remove some packages. The /etc/apt/sources.list file
contains a list of locations from which to retrieve desired package
files. See also apt_preferences(5) for a mechanism for overriding
the general settings for individual packages.


Whereas apt-get upgrade will only upgrade packages which do not depend on new packages or removed packages, dist-upgrade will attempt to install all updates, even those that do require the installation/removal of other packages. (In Ubuntu-based Mint, Ubuntu ensures that packages remain as static as possible and does not provide anything beyond security updates/bug fixes over the course of the lifetime of any specific release; therefore, only an apt-get upgrade is required in Ubuntu.)
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Re: How often to update/upgrade?

Postby craig10x on Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:48 am

Yes...use all 5 levels if you use mint update...otherwise, things may break on you in the near future...when you use package manager or terminal, you are getting ALL updates...not just lower level ones...This is a rolling distro not mint main edition...
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Re: How often to update/upgrade?

Postby PawnTakesKing on Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:05 am

Thanks! Everyone here is so helpful. Well, until MintUpdate is fine tuned to work directly with LMDE, I think I'd rather use the terminal to update. And I'll start using dist-upgrade as well.
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Re: How often to update/upgrade?

Postby CiaW on Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:32 pm

PawnTakesKing wrote:Thanks! Everyone here is so helpful. Well, until MintUpdate is fine tuned to work directly with LMDE, I think I'd rather use the terminal to update. And I'll start using dist-upgrade as well.

One suggestion: When you use the dist-upgrade, look at the output of what it's going to do. If it's going to remove packages you use don't assume that the package manager knows best. It just knows that something you have installed conflicts with something it wants to install or upgrade so it'll remove it if you let it. You have the option to answer 'n'o and wait until that conflict is resolved if you want. As for frequency, right now I check for updates daily, fwiw.
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Re: How often to update/upgrade?

Postby viking777 on Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:45 pm

As for frequency, right now I check for updates daily, fwiw.


CiaW is right, the more often you update the less often you will run into problems. It sounds counter intuitive, but it isn't. One of the biggest problems of running rolling release distros is the number of updates you have to contend with, and the longer you leave them, the more the complexities of their interactions come into play and the more problems you get. I had to remove Sidux because I couldn't afford the cost (on mobile broadband which I use a lot) of keeping up with the number of updates required. I hope this won't be the case with LMDE, but it has yet to be decided.
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Re: How often to update/upgrade?

Postby PawnTakesKing on Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:16 pm

viking777 wrote:
As for frequency, right now I check for updates daily, fwiw.


CiaW is right, the more often you update the less often you will run into problems. It sounds counter intuitive, but it isn't. One of the biggest problems of running rolling release distros is the number of updates you have to contend with, and the longer you leave them, the more the complexities of their interactions come into play and the more problems you get. I had to remove Sidux because I couldn't afford the cost (on mobile broadband which I use a lot) of keeping up with the number of updates required. I hope this won't be the case with LMDE, but it has yet to be decided.


I think I get it now: The more often you update, the quicker you get a fix to possible breakages. Sounds logical.

Another reason to check for updates daily: I ran dist-upgrade for the first time today and had some 653 new/different packages to upgrade. It's still installing them as I type this.
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Re: How often to update/upgrade?

Postby PawnTakesKing on Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:24 pm

Well, they're done installing, but now after rebooting my "Appearance" pane (where you change the theme, wallpaper, fonts, etc.) won't open properly. It's all stretched out with no text.
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Re: How often to update/upgrade?

Postby cecar on Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:50 pm

If this is what i think it is open a terminal and do this.
Code: Select all
gconftool-2 --unset "/desktop/gnome/font_rendering/dpi"
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Re: How often to update/upgrade?

Postby DrHu on Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:30 pm

Unless you absolutely need a newer application version or it has some features you want to try or need; then the only necessary updates are security fixes..

That said, most people tend to update fairly often, daily often although that is possibly not being a good net-citizen, as you are increasing traffic without a particularly great reason to do so
  • I usually update security often (can be daily, but is at least weekly)
  • Individual applications less often, in that I wait for the distribution developers to include it in their repositories
    --I don't tend to jump on the latest Google Chrome or Firefox or Opera or any other application, as soon as it becomes available somewhere on the internet..
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Re: How often to update/upgrade?

Postby vincent on Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:25 pm

DrHu wrote:Unless you absolutely need a newer application version or it has some features you want to try or need; then the only necessary updates are security fixes.


If that was your philosophy, you would be using Debian Stable or Ubuntu LTS, not a rolling release distro based off of Debian Testing.
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Re: How often to update/upgrade?

Postby PawnTakesKing on Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:37 pm

cecar wrote:If this is what i think it is open a terminal and do this.
Code: Select all
gconftool-2 --unset "/desktop/gnome/font_rendering/dpi"


Totally worked! Thanks!
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