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Is it wise to trust the system as far as accepting and installing updates that appear in the Update Manager? After I updated to kernel 3.4 it now reports about 850 updates at about 400mb, which would take all day on a usb tethered connection.

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You've either added PPAs or haven't updated for months, or you might be on the development release. Which is it. – mikewhatever Sep 30 '12 at 16:55

The answer is Yes as long as you can trust the sources. It is perfectly Okay to download and install the updates that appear in the update manager if you use only the standard Ubuntu software sources.

But, if you added PPAs to your software source list, You will receive updates from those PPAs too. So, in that situation your trust level depends on the trust you have on those PPAs. Though you can update your system with PPAs enabled, I strongly recommend to disable PPAs before doing updates. This will help you to have much error free system, because installing updates from PPAs can arise many issues in future.

See this questions

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This is a fresh install of Ubuntu 12.04 straight from the Ubuntu website. The only PPAs I have added has been gnome related, gnome theme related, and proprietary driver related. I guess I added some as well with the kernel upgrade. – Chris Sep 30 '12 at 19:32

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