[kwlug-disc] why would you do "apt-get dist-upgrade" regularly?

Robert P. J. Day rpjday at crashcourse.ca
Sat Aug 15 05:21:14 EDT 2009

  this weekend's project is to pore over the debian package management
docs to the point where i stop asking dumb questions, but here's
something i ran across i'd like to clarify.

  a web page i tripped over (can't lay hands on it right now) claimed
that you should run "apt-get dist-upgrade" on a regular basis -- once
a month, don't let it go more than two months.  but why?  i can
certainly appreciate running "apt-get upgrade" regularly but, as i
read it, the whole point of "dist-upgrade" is to move you to the next
official major release.

  so what effect would that have once you've done it *once*?  once
you've dist-upgraded, why would running it again have any effect,
unless you've changed your /etc/apt/sources.list to refer to the
*next* release?  (something that web page never mentioned.)

  in my situation, on a sarge (3.1) system, i edited
/etc/apt/sources.list, changed it to refer to etch (4.0), and did a
dry-run test:

  # apt-get --dry-run dist-upgrade

so i could see what would happen -- about 200 packages would be
upgraded.  so now i know.  but once i do that dist-upgrade, if i don't
change /etc/apt/sources.list any further, would running that command
again make any difference?  i don't understand how, unless it
incorporates a *regular* upgrade, but then i'd just recommend to do a
*regular* upgrade periodically.



Robert P. J. Day                               Waterloo, Ontario, CANADA

        Linux Consulting, Training and Annoying Kernel Pedantry.

Web page:                                          http://crashcourse.ca
Twitter:                                       http://twitter.com/rpjday

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