In LInux, you can…

Update every single piece of software on your computer, including your system, by:

Click once on a little orange button,

Click on the button that says “Install Updates”

Enter your security code.

Sit back and have a beer. Or, if you like, keep using your computer.

Later, you’ll get a message that it is all over. that’s it.

Unlike, say, Windows Update, this applies to all of the software that is installed on your system,* regardless of vendor, system vs application, etc.

Here is what does NOT happen when you do he updates:

You are not asked to close ANY software. None. Zero. ZIp. Nada. You can keep using the very software that is being updated, no problemo.

You will NOT be asked to reboot your system except in very rare circumstances.

If you are asked reboot, you can actually ignore that. If you normally turn your computer off once a day, just forget the reboot request, and later, when you cycle through the normal boot process, the system will get what it needs.

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* To be clear: Most desktop systems (and, indeed, many if not most servers these days) runnig a standard Linux installation have a “package manager” or some such thing that is used to install software. Assuming that you are using this system, which most normal people using Linux do, then the software in this database will be managed as per above. Also, the system does check the inernet, very quietly and non-obtrusively, to see if there are updates for any of your software … not just from one vendor or another … and lets you know.

If you’ve installed software using another method, you may need to keep track of that separately, so you may want to avoid that.

Comments

  1. #1 John S. Wilkins
    February 13, 2008

    Wow. Just like Macs :-P

  2. #2 Orac
    February 14, 2008

    My thought exactly. ;-)

  3. #3 Flaky
    February 14, 2008

    It’s a bit ironic that updating software these days is one of those things where Linux beats Windows, which was supposed to be an easy to use OS. But like everything with Linux, when it works, it works beautifully, but if it doesn’t, you’re in a lot of mess. It wasn’t that long ago, when I dreaded updates that included a new kernel. These updates would require me to reinstall the graphics drivers manually each time, if the system booted at all that is. Also, I think they should cut back a bit on the frequency of updates. Leave your PC without updates for a couple of months, and you’ll have an update for pretty much each piece of software you have, taking hours to download and install (or the rest of your life, if you’re still hanging on a dial-up).

  4. #4 Armchair Dissident
    February 14, 2008

    No, not like Macs, although to be fair I haven’t yet upgraded to 10.5 so it may have changed. Remember on Linux, it upgrades *everything* that was installed through the package manager; the Mac upgrade system only upgrades Apple software. As an example, my copy of GarageBand is updated through the update process, but my copy of Starry Night Pro isn’t.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    February 14, 2008

    John, Orac:

    You know, I would love to include Macs in my little comparisons, but I’m simply not as familiar with the system and I don’t want to mislead people. Since the Mac (System X and later) is based firmly on a *nix core (i.e., for all practial purposes, it is = Linux beneat the aqua eye candy, carbon, and quartz) it might be true that almost everything one says about linux is also true of a Mac, except the user interface.

    I also doubt the button is orange on a Mac. Is it? ]

    but if it doesn’t, you’re in a lot of mess (with Linux).

    Well.. yea, unlike Windows, where is something goes wrong the worst thing that can happen is ….. let me seee… you lose all your data and have to wipe the hard drive..

    It wasn’t that long ago, when I dreaded updates that included a new kernel. These updates would require me to reinstall the graphics drivers manually each time, if the system booted at all that is. Also, I think they should cut back a bit on the frequency of updates.

    OK, but I want to clarify two things here. The software updates I mention above are like Service Packs on the Kernal … they seem to come out every Sunday, and updtates on all the other software, system related and apps, etc on your system.

    Do kernel updates work the same way? Well, that depends. To install a new kernel, you press a different button. In other words, the equivilant of going from, say XP to Vista, requires a different button. You still press the little orange one, then you press the “upgrade system” button.

    Second, on having to rinstall graphics drivers, etc. It has been at least a couple/few years since that has been true (I say at least, again) because there are two things going on there … one is that lots of stuff is handled by your distro. If you are using a distro that makes you do all the work, then you are going to have to do a lot of work. A nicer distro will not make you do that. Second, if you wipe the hard drive and start fresh, and put in a nice distro, you are still going to have to reinstall stuff that does not come with the distro. Obviously.

    But, there is a way to not have to do that! There is a way to totally reinstall the system, even changing the distro (but don’t do that! things could happen…) and update everything without having to remember what you had previously installed. I’ll put that in a future blog post, I think.

  6. #6 Michael Vieths
    February 14, 2008

    for all practial purposes, it is = Linux beneat the aqua eye candy

    Well, BSD, but close enough.

    Second, on having to rinstall graphics drivers, etc. It has been at least a couple/few years since that has been true (I say at least, again) because there are two things going on there … one is that lots of stuff is handled by your distro.

    If you’re using the NVidia proprietary drivers and the kernel changes with a patch, you’ll often have to reinstall the driver, but that fits into the ‘If you’ve installed software using another method, you may need to keep track of that separately’ category.