How To Apt-Get Update, Upgrade, Dist-Upgrade, Full-Upgrade, and Their Similarities and Differences?


deb based distributions provide apt or apt-get to manage packages interactively and from network repositories. While updating packages update, upgrade or dist-upgrade can be used. But what is the difference between these two commands. In this tutorial, we will look at this issue.

Apt-Get/Apt Update

updatecommand will simply get the packages information from repositories. These repositories are remote internet sites that provide packages and their metadata. We will get metadata or package information and then compare it with locally installed or downloaded package information and metadata. This will not download any packages.

$ sudo apt update

Apt-Get/Apt Upgrade

The real update operation will be down with upgrade command. This command will download packages and upgrade accordingly. So upgrade command will be run after update command. We should have root privileges in order to completely update operation so we will use sudo before upgrade command.

$ sudo apt upgrade

Apt-Get/Apt Dist-Upgrade

dist-upgrade command is very similar to upgrade command. This command will upgrade too but during the upgrade, there will be some prompts related to package configuration. In dist-upgrade this questions will be answered automatically by apt which will make our upgrade operation more easy and intelligent.

$ sudo apt dist-upgrade

Apt-Get/Apt Full-Upgrade

full-upgrade  is the same as dist-upgrade so we can use both command interchangeable.

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4 thoughts on “How To Apt-Get Update, Upgrade, Dist-Upgrade, Full-Upgrade, and Their Similarities and Differences?”

  1. `upgrade` will not upgrade all packages like the kernel and a few others flagged as a “distribution upgrade”. That is why you sometimes need to run `dist-upgrade`.

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  2. upgrade will hold back upgrades that require other packages be removed due to dependency changes. It will only upgrade installed packages and install new packages.

    dist-upgrade/full-upgrade will remove packages that were automatically installed (installed as dependants of manually selected packages) as needed to satisfy package upgrade dependency conflicts.

    Neither upgrade nor dist-upgrade/full-upgrade will remove automatically installed packages (dependencies) that are no longer needed after the upgrade. autoremove will do just this.

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