How to Update One or All Apps on Linux in Seconds
It’s a fact of computing: apps are going to nag you about updates. You shouldn’t ignore such prompts though, as updates often carry security patches, bug fixes, and new features that make the software more useful.
We’ve talked about the essentials to updating Linux and Linux software, but perhaps you just want to quickly update an application on your computer and get on with your life.
Updating a Debian or Ubuntu System
For those times, there’s a simple terminal command in Debian-based distros such as Ubuntu to update anything on your computer:
sudo apt install [package name here]
This command will simply check for and install any updates related to the software specified. If you don’t know the package name of the app that you’d like to update, you can run the following command to list all the packages on your system:
apt search [package]
There are a few more commands you can use to beef up this process if you’d like to update everything at once. Running the following command will grab the latest information about the software on your computer:
sudo apt update
Once you run this, issue the following command to update all software that has a newer version.
sudo apt upgrade
The system will list everything updated by this command and ask you to confirm by typing Y.
Updating Packages on Red-Hat Distros
If you’re using a Red Hat-based distribution like CentOS, the commands to update your system are a little different. This is primarily because these systems use the Yum package manager.
To install a single app on such distributions:
sudo yum install [PACKAGE]
To update your system, type:
sudo yum update
Updating All Packages on OpenSUSE
OpenSUSE is famous for its menu-driven YaST tool, but you can also update your system from the command line with the Zypper tool:
sudo zypper update
Like other package managers, you can update just a single package with zypper as well:
sudo zypper update [package]
sudo zypper up [package]
To update all the packages on your system, issue the aforementioned command without the package name.
sudo zypper update
sudo zypper up
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.
For updating a single package:
sudo pacman -S [package]
The -S switch stands for sync, which is what the developers call updating.
Updating the system is also a little obscure compared to other distros, but you can memorize it pretty quickly:
sudo pacman -Syu
The -y option stands for refresh, or download a new copy of the master package database from the repository, and -u for sysupgrade, or upgrading any outdated packages on the system.
It’s Easy to Keep Your Linux System up to Date
That’s it! Now you have all you need to quickly update apps in Linux right from the terminal. If you’re using a different distro not covered here or just want more detail, consult the documentation for your system.
This tweet by Mahmoud Tantawy reminds us why it’s important to keep our systems up to date:
`$ apt-get update && apt-get upgrade` a day, keeps the hackers away … or at least makes it harder 😀
— Mahmoud Tantawy (@mtantawy) April 1, 2016
If you like to keep your Linux installation minimal, then knowing which applications are important might be of help to you. Even a beginner Linux user is unaware of the various software that they can install on their system. Installing a Linux distribution that ships with basic applications is recommended for such users.
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April 16, 2021 at 07:15AM