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My question is how exactly do I go about upgrading software to a newer version. For instance my slakckware intsall came with gaim 7.3 or whatever and I want to upgrade to the new 1.0 should I uninstall the old version first? and if so how do I uninstall it? or can I just run the install for the new version and it will autodetect the old version. any help would be great.
Well, my favourite way is using slapt-get (software.jaos.org), other prefer swaret (swaret.sourceforge.net), there are some others that do the same kind of automatic update. Also, you can browse trough a slackware mirror and download and upgrade the packages you want or compile them yourself.
You uninstall a program by typing: removepkg <packagename>
You install one with: installpkg <packagename>
Upgrade: upgradepkg <oldpackagename>%<newpackagename>
or simply using: pkgtool
that's a dialog based tool for managing packages
"or can I just run the install for the new version and it will autodetect the old version" Nope, you have to remove the package first or upgrade it with the respective command. If you want a package that's not on a slackware mirror try: linuxpackages.net
Quoth Doktor Prokt: If you don't use slapt-get or something similar you should fetch updates via Slackware-current.
Careful doing that though. If it depends on libraries from another package, and that other package has also been changed in current, you may find that it doesn't work any more.
If this happens, you can either try to figure out the broken dependencies and upgrade those as well, or you can see if there's an up-to-date version of the package you're trying to upgrade over on LinuxPackages.net, which ought to run on an unmodified stable release.
Or you could try removing the old version with removepkg, and compiling the new one from source.
real quick, here's the link to the slackpkg homepage, where you can find a little more information (if you've never used it you may have to select a mirror and upgrade slackpkg itself before you can upgrade gaim).