How do I know When I Need To Update My Linux System Software?

Q. How do I know when I need to update my Linux system? How do I know new patches are available for CentOS Linux (Red Hat) / Debian Linux server system?

A. Almost all Linux distribution includes a command line and/or GUI notification tool. A small icon will appear on your toolbar. It will indicate that there is an update waiting to be downloaded. By double clicking on the icon, you should able to install all the updates.

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If GUI is not installed type the following command to see status of updated package under Debian Linux:
# apt-get update
# apt-get upgrade

Under CentOS Linux 5 / RHEL 5 Linux server pass check-update option to yum command. You will find out if your machine had any updates that needed to be applied without running it interactively.
# yum check-update

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3 comments… add one
  • Well, it's me of course Jun 4, 2008 @ 22:17

    A more complete answer would include a website that showed the schedule of updates, complete with the changelogs, etc.

    Imagine you are administering 100 debian boxes.
    You have a windows laptop and at the moment you don’t have access to the debian boxes. But you’d like to see what packages are ready to be updated since 2 weeks ago when you applied updates.

  • Stephan Jun 6, 2008 @ 5:41

    If you are on Debian (or similar), there is a package called apticron which will e-mail you details of updates when they become available. It’s very handy.

  • Bappa Jun 9, 2008 @ 9:55

    Right now we are using YAST/YAST2 for system update; is there any OFFICIAL command line tool for SuSE Linux(like yum & apt-get).

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