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Slackware is the hardest distro to keep up to date, you have to download most thing by hand and compile, as Slackware doesn't have a "real" packages manager.
That's why I wouldn't recommend that one to run a server?
slack has a built in tool for updating and managing packages......as root type pkgtool.
if the application in question is a .tgz file this will be fine. If they are of other types.......tar.gz packages for instance they will need to be compiled. If this is the case the old will need manually removed. In such a case most applications when built, build an uninstall so you would need to find that and run it.
check out slackpkg, it comes with slack in the extras directory. i use it exclusively to update my slack to current, and as long as you follow the changelog on the slack site, you shouldn't have any problems.
Use the upgradepkg command when upgrading slackpackages. There's a few tools for slack. slackpkg, swaret, slapt-get, etc... I use slackpkg myself. But like I said, if you download an .tgz file, as root run the command...
And that's it. It gets rid of you existing version and upgrades it. Simple!
As far as using the package system with .tar.gz files goes, use checkinstall (also in the /extras directory) to make slackpkgs out of things you compile from source. Then when you upgrade, you can removepkg the old one and checkinstall the new one, as simple as that. <biased comment>Everything the other package managers have plus the ability to have manual control over installing dependencies and know at all times what is being put on your system.</biased comment>