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I have a simple, stable box (11.04 running fluxbox), very rarely rebooted, used mainly for web browsing and ssh.

Other than frequently updating the browser (e.g. sudo apt-get install google-chrome-stable), is it worth running

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

on a set schedule? I'm always afraid of destabilizing my system to protect against obscure security issues that I will likely never encounter since I use so few apps.

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2 Answers

  • Updates are intended to FIX issues and not to create new problems.
  • Security updates FIX security issues and are not to create new security holes.

All in all: updating when there is a security patch is better than not updating. For all the normal updates you can always not install them if you are not affected by what the update is intended to fix. But they will (/are intended to) make your system more stable.

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If you want to keep the computer safe, but avoid any other kinds of upgrades, you might fiddle with the repositories. You want to use the security repository, but none of the others.


The Security Repository:

from https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Repositories/Ubuntu/ , I quote:

[they are] designed to change the behavior of the package as little as possible -- in fact, the minimum required to resolve the security problem. As a result, they tend to be very low-risk to apply


How to use only the security repository

The usual way would be to change /etc/apt/sources.list to contain only the lines that refer to (ubuntu version name)-security.

This entails two problems:
* You would only get security upgrades even for chrome
* Ubuntu might overwrite the file from time to time, negating the configuration

To bypass that, you might want to take a look at this other answer


And how important is it to do this, anyway ?

No idea. Thought that was your question ...

I've had a desktop machine suffer attacks (as attempts to log into, via ssh) and it was kind of a trivial machine (nothing fancy in there to get peoples attention). That is all I know

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