Ubuntu Software Update How To

One of our regular reader asks:


How do I update and patch system under Ubuntu Linux? How do I update desktop and server edition software?

Updating software under Ubuntu Linux is pretty easy. There are two ways to update software as follows:

Method # 1: Ubuntu Linux Software update using command line tools

apt-get is the command-line tool for handling packages, updating package and installing patches under Ubuntu Linux. All you have to do is type the following two command to update all installed software to latest version.

Open terminal and type the following two commands:
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

Sample output:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following packages have been kept back:
  linux-headers-generic linux-image-generic openssh-client openssh-server ssl-cert
The following packages will be upgraded:
  ca-certificates cupsys cupsys-bsd cupsys-client cupsys-common evolution evolution-common evolution-plugins gstreamer0.10-esd gstreamer0.10-plugins-good
  kdelibs-data kdelibs4c2a libcupsimage2 libcupsys2 libgnutls13 libhsqldb-java libpq5 libsmbclient libsmbclient-dev libspeex-dev libspeex1 libssl0.9.8
  linux-image linux-libc-dev linux-restricted-modules-common linux-source-2.6.22 linux-ubuntu-modules-2.6.22-14-generic openoffice.org openoffice.org-base
  openoffice.org-calc openoffice.org-common openoffice.org-core openoffice.org-draw openoffice.org-evolution openoffice.org-filter-mobiledev
  openoffice.org-gnome openoffice.org-gtk openoffice.org-impress openoffice.org-java-common openoffice.org-math openoffice.org-style-human
  openoffice.org-writer openssl python-uno samba-common smbclient ssh ssh-askpass-gnome ttf-opensymbol tzdata update-manager update-manager-core
  vorbis-tools xserver-xephyr xserver-xorg-core xserver-xorg-dev
56 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 5 not upgraded.
Need to get 183MB of archives.
After unpacking 119kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? y 

Method # 2: GUI tool – Ubuntu Update Manager

This is a GUI tool. It works like Microsoft / Red Hat / Fedora update manager i.e. you will see a little icon in the kicker bar/taskbar when there are updates available. It will only appear when new upgrades are available. All you have to do is click on it and follow the online instructions.

You can also star GUI tool by Clicking System > Administration > Update Manager > Select Install update
Ubuntu Linux Software Update manager
(Fig.01: Ubuntu Linux Software Update Manager in Action)

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8 comments… add one
  • ramana Mar 20, 2009 @ 17:06

    Very user full information, with the help of this i am able to update the software.
    thanks for you suggestion.

  • raman May 4, 2009 @ 15:40

    But how to upgrade your ubuntu to latest version without update manager???

  • cho Mar 2, 2010 @ 3:49

    Me thinks OK of you, freindly persons. Many thankyous for helps.

  • Nab Apr 18, 2010 @ 23:49

    Thanks, but I need help with a irritating problem.
    What if I want to update a program which is beyond the current Ubuntu version I am using i.e. 9.04, and I don’t want to upgrade it yet?

    Main problem is Transmission which in older versions didn’t support magnet links, but now does. But I don’t want to use Karmic Koala yet because of its bad reputation…


  • riantesa Aug 14, 2010 @ 5:43

    i’ve try to update using update manager, but there’s error massage “E: Could not get lock /var/cache/apt/archives/lock – open (11: Resource temporarily unavailable)
    E: Unable to lock the download directory”, i dont know why? i hope anyone can help me…! thanks

  • s s Jan 13, 2012 @ 8:07

    I am unable to update from 11.04 to 11.10 ubuntu

  • gemma suarez Jul 10, 2012 @ 14:44

    ok i went to terminal and typed in sudo apt-get update ans sudo apt-get upgrade first it said no command line found then said the update command takes no arguments i need help i cant update i cannot get into the software center

  • elizabeth Dec 20, 2012 @ 4:11

    Why is Evolution duplicating, tripling and quadrupling?????

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