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Old 06-19-2014, 04:51 PM   #1
trafikpolisen
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Update Manager and apt-get dist-upgrade - difference?


Been using Linux for a few years now, but mainly Ubuntu and Mint which both have graphical update managers. For a while now I've been using Debian with Xfce on my laptop because of it's small footprint on resources. In Debian i run "apt-get dist-upgrade" to update my system, but in Mint that command seems to upgrade/change rather more stuff than the graphical update manager does. So what is the difference between Mint's Update Manager and running "apt-get dist-upgrade"?
 
Old 06-19-2014, 06:03 PM   #2
frankbell
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There is a difference between apt-get upgrade and apt-get dist-upgrade. From the apt-get man page (man 8 apt-get):

Quote:
upgrade upgrade is used to install the newest versions of all packages currently installed on the system from the sources enumerated in /etc/apt/sources.list. Packages currently installed with new versions available are retrieved and upgraded; under no circumstances are currently installed packages removed, or packages not already installed retrieved and installed. New versions of currently installed packages that cannot be upgraded without changing the install status of another package will be left at their current version. An update must be performed first so that apt-get knows that new versions of packages are available.

dist-upgrade dist-upgrade in addition to performing the function of upgrade, also intelligently handles changing dependencies with new versions of packages; apt-get has a "smart" conflict resolution system, and it will attempt to upgrade the most important packages at the expense of less important ones if necessary. The dist-upgrade command may therefore remove some packages. The /etc/apt/sources.list file contains a list of locations from which to retrieve desired package files. See also apt_preferences(5) for a mechanism for overriding the general settings for individual packages.
Upgrade would commonly be used for normal updates. Dist-upgrade is commonly used when Debian release a new version. I occasionaly use it on Sid, as Sid is sort of a moving target.

Last edited by frankbell; 06-19-2014 at 06:04 PM.
 
Old 08-21-2014, 06:29 PM   #3
Fred Caro
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dist- and upgrade

frankbell:

"Upgrade would commonly be used for normal updates. Dist-upgrade is commonly used when Debian release a new version. I occasionaly use it on Sid, as Sid is sort of a moving target."

Yes but that would involve changing sources, dist-upgrade on Mint(13) can have unforseen consequenses. It does look like recently Mint have moved server addresses, hence mirror updates, but usually if you have been relying on the gui updates and change to cmd and you type 'dist-upgrade' the results are different than if you did it on either Debian or Ubuntu, at the very least it might ask you a set of questions you might not know how best to answer.
This is not ideal behaviour for sonething that is often recomended to new Linux users.

Fred.
 
Old 08-21-2014, 08:29 PM   #4
frankbell
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As Sid as a testing release, not a numbered release, apt-get dist-upgrade on Sid does not require changing sources.list.

From time to time on Sid, an apt-get update && apt-get upgrade will report that something is being held back pending apt-get dist-upgrade.

Running apt-get dist-upgrade will generally update most, if not all, of the items that have been held back.

I haven't bothered to investigate the technical reasons for that, I have just observed that it works. My best guess is that, as updated programs are added to the repos, some of the underlying dependencies do not get updated via apt-get upgrade, but do get updated via apt-get dist-upgrade.

As for Mint and dist-upgrade, as Mint does not support on-line version upgrades, that's a whole nother issue. Anyone who wants to try a "dist-upgrade" on Mint should prepare for it just as if preparing for full new version install, because, if dist-upgrade fails, he or she is on his or her own.

Last edited by frankbell; 08-21-2014 at 08:34 PM.
 
  


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