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I just installed ubuntu and ran an update a few days ago. I am now seeing 400 some odd packages eligible for update in the notifications, and I am starting to be concerned about system bloat.

Does that make sense?

At any rate, I am looking for some guidance about how to keep the desktop/laptop update and trim.

How often do you update the system?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Although that number does seem high, it isn't really alarming. It is because of the way programs are written for Linux as opposed to other OS's. In Linux many programs are really just a bunch of other programs that all do a small function, but can be collaborated into one larger program. This is why we have dependencies. The reasoning for this is because in open source software, the ethos is "do one thing and do it well". When programs are written to do one thing and do it well, another programmer doesn't need to write that part of his program, because someone already did that, and they can just piggyback off of that program for that particular function.

I recommend keeping your PC up-to-date because most of the times the updates are bug-fixes, feature enhancements or security fixes. I personally run updates whenever the default schedule is (I think it checks once a week) and notifies me to run updates.

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Awesome background info! ;-) – Rafał Cieślak Jun 12 '12 at 22:05

Updates replace the packages you already have installed so I wouldn't worry about adding bloat there. If the process is tedious/time consuming for you you can enable automatic updates to do it in the background:

Selecting the "Install security updates without confirmation" option in the answer in that question will get you the minimum security updates you need to stay safe, you should probably leave that on "Daily".

Then you can install all the other updates at your convenience but you don't need to install them to stay safe, but you'll want to to fix bugs in Ubuntu, so you can do that by hand at whatever pace you want.

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