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Why does Update Manager download full packages which already installed? For example, when there is an update for Firefox or Virtualbox or any other software, the Update Manager shows that it's downloading it from scratch.

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I'm not sure this should be considered a duplicate. It's definitely related, but this question is asking about the nature of the current limitation, not if/when it will be changed. The question this has been duped to would not necessarily make sense to a significant portion of the people who would identify with this question. I think this question is valuable on its own and I suspect other answers, besides mine, could be posted and add further value. – Eliah Kagan Feb 28 '13 at 22:58
Lets get this re-opened! – Seth Feb 28 '13 at 23:05

The package--that is, a single .deb file--is the smallest unit of information that Ubuntu's package manager can install. Even if some of the files in the package are the same as some of the files that already exists (which is often but not always the case when upgrading an already-installed package), the whole .deb file must still be downloaded.

This is not unique to Ubuntu, by the way. Most operating systems, Unix-like or not, usually download significant information during updates/upgrades that is already present on the system.

So, that's the reason. If you're trying to request a feature that this be changed, Ask Ubuntu is not the place for that. For this, try Brainstorm (please search first, as somone may have already posted the idea).

Jorge Castro has commented about a particular implementation of this feature. This may or may not be what you're thinking of (and is not necessarily the only way to achieve this), but is likely the most fruitful path toward the feature you're interested in.

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Thanks for elaborating – ammaro Feb 28 '13 at 22:12

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