I'm about to update meltdown & spectre kernel patches for my Ubuntu machine and one guide says I have to install *.deb files with dpkg and one says I have to run apt-get dist-upgrade.

What's the difference between the two?

Do either of them risk the version bumping from 14.04 to 16.04 for example?


If you have a fixed set of Debian packages that you have already downloaded, you use dpkg --install *.deb

You use apt-get dist-upgrade to download and update all your packages from the repository, intelligently handling disappeared packages. (That is a simplification.) It’s used during distribution upgrades (hence the name). Depending on the contents of your /etc/apt/sources.list, this may very well upgrade to 17.10…

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  • Half of this is false; apt-get dist-upgrade does not upgrade to a new distro version (despite the name). To do that you need do-release-upgrade – Zanna Mar 6 '18 at 14:43
  • @zanna -- it does if you change your sources.list to the new version. – ravery Mar 6 '18 at 14:44
  • @ravery yeah but that is not a proper way to upgrade and nobody should do that! – Zanna Mar 6 '18 at 14:44
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    @MPi -- I would note to make it clearer that dpkg installs packages you have downloaded. And, dist-upgrade updates installed packages from the repos. – ravery Mar 6 '18 at 14:54
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    Good suggestion, @ravery, I added a bit. – MPi Mar 6 '18 at 15:00

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