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Running Linux, Fourth Edition by Lar Kaufman, Terry Dawson, Matthias Kalle Dalheimer, Matt Welsh

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Upgrading Software

Linux is a fast-moving target. Because of the cooperative nature of the project, new software is always becoming available, and programs are constantly being updated with newer versions. This is especially true of the Linux kernel, which has many groups of people working on it. During the development process, it’s not uncommon for a new kernel patch to be released on a nightly basis. While other parts of the system may not be as dynamic, the same principles apply.

With this constant development, how can you possibly hope to stay on top of the most recent versions of your system software? The short answer is, you can’t. While there are people out there who have a need to stay current with, say, the nightly kernel patch release, for the most part, there’s no reason to bother upgrading your software this often. In this section, we’re going to talk about why and when to upgrade and show you how to upgrade several important parts of the system.

When should you upgrade? In general, you should consider upgrading a portion of your system only when you have a demonstrated need to upgrade. For example, if you hear of a new release of some application that fixes important bugs (that is, those bugs that actually affect your personal use of the application), you might want to consider upgrading that application. If the new version of the program provides new features you might find useful, or has a performance boost over your present version, it’s also a good idea to upgrade. ...

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