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How to update Ubuntu; a step-by-step guide

Stay up-to-date and secure with our comprehensive guide on effortlessly updating Ubuntu, ensuring your system has the latest features and patches for optimal performance.

Posted: 15 Jun, 23 Updated: 29 Jun, 23 by Susith Nonis 12 Min

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If you love to try Linux and are searching for an excellent place to start, you should know already that Ubuntu is the answer. You might’ve heard of Ubuntu but have yet to learn what this operating system is or how to update Ubuntu. In any case, you've found the right article.

Ubuntu is a free and open-source operating system that millions use for daily tasks. It is also a collaborative endeavour and, most importantly, a community.

It doesn’t matter if you want to migrate away from operating systems like Windows and macOS or already installed Ubuntu. Today, we are going to learn how to update this amazing OS. However, let’s start with some basic information.

Ubuntu is a completely free desktop operating system. It is based on Linux, a major project allowing millions worldwide to run workstations powered by free and open software on various devices. Linux comes in various flavours, with Ubuntu being the most popular on desktops and laptops.

When you hear "free," you might instantly think about free of charge. Yes, Ubuntu is free of charge. However, the most important thing is that this OS defines freedom.

In contrast to most operating systems, the free and open-source Ubuntu allows you to alter the code, install as many copies as you like, and distribute the application as you see fit. So Ubuntu is not only free to download; it is also free to use however you see fit.

The Linux kernel has given rise to a whole family of operating systems known as Linux distributions. There are over a thousand free distributions that you may install on your PC.

However, regarding simplicity of use and newbie friendliness, Ubuntu is the name that comes up most frequently. Why is this the case? And why is Ubuntu recommended as the first Linux distribution for newcomers? Let us investigate.

Ubuntu is the most user-friendly.

Many customers want to know if they can test the operating system before installing it on their machine. There is one with Ubuntu. All you have to do is produce a bootable USB and run the operating system off it. This is an excellent technique for newcomers to become acquainted with the surroundings before installing the operating system.

Because Arch Linux and Gentoo need command-line installation rather than graphical installation, they are not recommended for Linux newbies. Ubuntu easily tackles this by providing customers with an easy-to-use graphical installation. Except for the partitioning procedure, everything else throughout the installation is simple to understand and follow, even for novices.

Ubuntu is stable, thanks to Linux.

You may have heard that if you use Linux, you should know how to fix problems and utilize the command line manually. This is not the case with Ubuntu. Ubuntu is the top pick of an operating system for newbies because of its stability.

After you've completed the installation procedure, you must maintain your system's packages up to date. Because packages are tested before they are added to the official repositories, you can be confident that installing new software will not break your system.

Ubuntu is reliable enough for servers where uptime and performance are critical.

Driver support? No problem!

Among all Linux distributions, Ubuntu has by far the strongest driver support for all types of hardware, including printers, which are notoriously difficult to set up regardless of the operating system. You can anticipate your keyboard and mouse to operate right out of the box without needing third-party drivers or entering instructions in the terminal you're unfamiliar with.

Hardware concerns are the most common cause for returning to Windows or macOS after experimenting with Linux. Ubuntu solves this problem by including device drivers by default. You can even play games on Ubuntu because it has open-source and proprietary Nvidia GPU drivers.

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Unlike in Windows, where updates are irritating, use a lot of time and power, and often necessitate numerous restarts, updates on Linux are regarded positively.

Every time I see an update, I notice bug patches, potential performance improvements, and, depending on the updated packages, sometimes even brand-new features.

If you're operating a computer that's critical to workflow and can't afford to have anything go wrong (such as a server), then no, don't install every update.

But, if you're like most regular users who use Ubuntu as a desktop OS, you should apply every update as soon as you get it.

The major reason is to patch newly identified security holes, solve stability bugs, and provide updated hardware support.

Frequent updates may not always be advantageous, but they are regarding security. If a flaw in the kernel is discovered, it might be exploited to compromise the system until it is corrected. As a result, it's preferable if as little time as possible occurs between discovering a security flaw and its closure. There's no reason to wait and leave an open security hole when a simple remedy is available.

It's usually a good idea to have the most recent kernel. An update may resolve a bug or enhance stability even with no security issues.

Every operating system has a unique method for assigning version numbers and generating code names. The Ubuntu technique may initially appear unusual, but it is rather straightforward.

Canonical releases new Ubuntu versions every six months, in April and October. Each Ubuntu release is identified by a version number that includes the year and month of release. This tutorial, for example, explains Ubuntu 17.10, published in October 2017. The next Ubuntu release, version 18.04, is slated for April 2018. The following one will be 18.10 in October of 2018, and so on.

Ubuntu releases are given alliterative code names, including an adjective and an animal, in addition to version numbers. Ubuntu 17.10's codename is Artful Aardvark. It follows Zesty Zapus (17.04), which finished the alphabet earlier this year.

The first three Ubuntu versions were Warty Warthog (4.10), Hoary Hedgehog (5.04), and Breezy Badger (5.10), all of which had the alliteration but did not go in sequence. With the debut of Dapper Drake, everything changed (6.06). Since then, Ubuntu code names have been arranged alphabetically. Because of how things started, Artful Aardvark is the first release, to begin with, the letter A.

So, suppose you're chatting with another Ubuntu fan and they're raving about Wily Werewolf or Yakkety Yak. In that case, they're not talking about their affection for oddball mammals but past versions of the Ubuntu operating system.

One of Ubuntu's best qualities is that it is supported within a certain time frame. New operating system versions are published every six months and maintained for 18 months by Canonical. These versions are known as standard releases.

Canonical creates Long Term Support (LTS) releases in addition to regular releases. These versions are released every two years (assuming all goes according to plan) and are supported for three years. 18.04, the next edition of Ubuntu, will be a Long Term Support release. The most recent one

Now that we know everything we need, it’s update time. The easiest and fastest way to update your Ubuntu OS is to check for it in the system's GUI and start the update process from there.

Ubuntu users are prompted to upgrade at different times depending on the current release. Users on interim versions, such as Ubuntu 21.10, are prompted to update within a few days after publishing the following Ubuntu release. This prompt may appear automatically or when the system checks for fresh updates.

You don't have to go to the terminal to update the system if you're running Ubuntu as a desktop. You may still use the command line, but it's not required. Look for "Software Updater" in the menu and launch it.

It will check to see if there are any system updates available. If updates are available, you will be given the choice to install them. Select "Install Now." It may request your password.

When you input your password, the updates will begin to be installed. In certain circumstances, you may need to restart your Ubuntu system for the installed updates to take effect. If you need to restart the system, you will be told at the end of the update.

If you don't want to reboot your machine right away, you can select to restart later. If the software updater fails, use the terminal command "sudo apt update" to update the program.

To begin, launch the terminal from the Ubuntu desktop. You may access it through the menu or using the Ctrl+Alt+T keyboard shortcut. You already have access to a terminal if you are connected to an Ubuntu server. Simply enter the following command at the terminal:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

It will prompt you for a password. You can use the password associated with your account. When inputting your password in the terminal, you won't see any characters on the screen, so keep going and push enter. This will update the Ubuntu packages.

How simple is it to update Ubuntu through the terminal? Let me now explain the preceding instruction.

It's a mixture of two commands, not a single one. The && character is used in Linux to run multiple commands, so the second command runs only if the prior command was successful.

When the command "apt upgrade" asks for your consent before installing updates, the "-y" at the end inserts "yes" automatically.

Use two commands separately.

sudo apt update

sudo apt upgrade

It will take longer since you must wait for one command to complete before entering the second.

Sudo apt update

This command refreshes the local package database. If you do not perform this command, the local database will not be updated, and your system will not know any new package versions.

This is why you'll notice a lot of URLs in the output of the "sudo apt update" command. The command retrieves package information from the appropriate repositories (the URLs you see in the output).

The command finishes by telling you how many packages may be upgraded.

Sudo apt upgrade

This program compares installed package versions to the local database. It gathers them all and then lists the packages that have a newer version available. It will then ask if you wish to upgrade the installed software to a newer version.

To confirm the installation of updates, type "yes," "y," or press enter. So, in summary, "sudo apt update" checks for the availability of new package versions, whereas "sudo apt upgrade" installs them.

The name "update" may be misleading since you would expect the "apt update" command to update the system by installing new software, but this is false.

You have just discovered how to update your Ubuntu system. If interested, you should also know the following facts about Ubuntu updates.

Following an upgrade, your system may have certain redundant packages that are no longer required. You may use the following command to uninstall such packages and free up some space: sudo apt autoremove.

Remember The methods outlined here to keep your Ubuntu installation fresh and up to date. It excludes OS version updates (for example, upgrading Ubuntu 16.04 to 18.04).

Ubuntu version updates are something altogether different. They entail upgrading the whole core of the operating system. Make appropriate backups before beginning this time-consuming operation.

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Susith Nonis

Susith Nonis

I'm fascinated by the IT world and how the 1's and 0's work. While I venture into the world of Technology, I try to share what I know in the simplest way with you. Not a fan of coffee, a travel addict, and a self-accredited 'master chef'.