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I've used the 12.04 live cd to get here but installed it awhile ago. I assume until a week ago I was current but now I'm not so sure. Maybe I'm just being paranoid?

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LTS releases are not frequently updated releases. They almost receive security and stability updates. If you want fresh software, choose 13.04 or even 13.10. –  Danatela Sep 4 '13 at 4:58
    
Thanks I'm not looking for fresh software I just thought there might be a security issue. The update manager always says "updated x hours ago" When it wasn't. What would I run in the terminal to accomplish the same thing that the GUI update manager does? –  hortstu Sep 4 '13 at 5:02
    
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade. The 'updated x hours ago' message means that your package lists are updated, and there are not updates for installed packages. –  Danatela Sep 4 '13 at 5:30
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You should use sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade instead of just upgrade.. At least once in a while. –  Seth Sep 5 '13 at 14:08
    
Thanks for the help. That's a command I needed. –  hortstu Sep 8 '13 at 4:49

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Let me explain the way how package updating & upgrading works. Also, I'd like to cover distinguishes between them.

  • Updating is the procedure of fetching and comparing package lists. It can be initiated by this command:

    sudo apt-get update
    

    The APT application will get package lists, which contain information about packages available on download servers, their version and dependency information, and will determine which packages should be upgraded.

  • Upgrading is the procedure of actual changing installed packages. It can update, remove or install new packages. By default, for safety reasons, upgrade does only update:

    sudo apt-get upgrade
    

    but you can force it to make (un)installations:

    sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
    

    Just glance of these commands' output: the first will say that some packages will not be processed, and the second will make all the changes that should be made. For example, it will install new kernel image if it is available.

So, returning to your question, the 'updated x hours ago' message means that your package lists are updated, and there are not updates for installed packages. This is typical for LTS releases which are not frequently updated releases. They [almost] rarely receive security and stability updates. And for accomplishing the same thing that the GUI update manager does you should run in the terminal:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
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Note that it's very common to refer to upgrades of packages within a release as "updates," at least informally. Almost every Ubuntu and Debian user I know does this, including very experienced users. So really, what's important is not to insist on on specific meaning (except in syntax on the command-line, of course), but to be aware that the term is used in different ways, and that apt-get update retrieves information about available packages, without upgrading any packages. Update Manager and Software Updater reinforce and affirm this colloquial usage of "update"! –  Eliah Kagan Sep 6 '13 at 6:19

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