Managing Software Updates

As important as installing software is keeping it up-to-date, to avoid security breaches and to take full advantage of new functionality as it is added. Ubuntu can automatically take notice of software that has been updated in the repositories or software sources it knows, and lets you choose your course of action. This is configured by using the Updates tab of the Software Sources tool, shown in the Figure.

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Figure . The Updates tab at the Software Sources tool

Here you can:

• Select the type of Ubuntu update to allow: Important security updates (natty- security), recommended updates (natty-updates), pre-released updates (natty- proposed) and unsupported updates (natty-backports).

• Configure how often to check for updates (daily, every two days, weekly or every two weeks) and what to do when new versions are found: to install security updates without confirmation, to download all updates in the background, or to only notify when new versions are available.

•Ubuntu will let you know when a new version of the OS itself is made available (which is every six months!). You can select to be warned about “Long term support” (LTS) releases only (which happens every two years), for all normal releases, or never be warned.

Once you have configured to be notified about software updates, it will be a short while until you are prompted to install them. You can do so by opening the Update Manager, a tool located at the System section of the Application menu and shown in Figure.

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Figure . Ubuntu Update Manager

There’s the list of available updates, each with a check box next to it that indicates whether you want to install the update or not. It is always recommended to keep your software up-to-date, or at least to install the important security updates as soon as possible to avoid future problems.

Clicking the Check button forces a resynchronization of the software catalog to verify that there are no new updates to install. Once you have reviewed all the updates, you can click the Install Updates button and proceed with the task.