Updating Ubuntu Linux Using the Command Line

Ubuntu Linux stands as a beacon of open-source excellence, offering a solid platform for developers, enthusiasts, and professionals alike. Central to its appeal is the ease of managing and updating software—a critical task for maintaining system security and performance. For those inclined towards the simplicity and power of the command line, Ubuntu provides a suite of tools that make this task both efficient and pleasant. In this blog, we will go through the different methods available for updating Ubuntu Linux software using the command line interface.

Why Update Using the Command Line?

The command line, or terminal, is a powerful tool that offers efficiency, precision, and the ability to automate tasks through scripting. For many, it has become a preferred method for managing software updates due to its speed and the granular control it provides over the update process.

Let’s now look at the steps involved in each method of updating Ubuntu Linux software.

Method 1 – Update with APT (Advanced Package Tool)

At the heart of Ubuntu’s package management system lies APT, a powerful tool that simplifies the process of managing software packages.

To Update with APT:

1. Refresh Your Package List

Before making any updates, it’s essential to refresh your local package list to ensure it aligns with the repositories. Use the command: 

This command retrieves the latest information about package versions and their dependencies without installing anything.

2. Upgrade Packages

With your package list refreshed, the next step is to upgrade the installed packages. This can be done with: 

This command upgrades all the installed packages to the latest versions available from the Ubuntu repositories. It’s a safe operation, as it doesn’t remove any packages or install ones that aren’t already installed.

3. Dist-Upgrade for a Deeper Update

For a more thorough update that can handle changes in package dependencies and remove obsolete packages, use:

This command is more aggressive but ensures your system’s packages remain in harmony, especially after significant updates.

4. Cleaning Up

After upgrading, it’s good practice to remove obsolete packages and clear the APT cache:

APT is the cornerstone of Ubuntu package management, providing a solid foundation for system updates and maintenance.

Method 2 – Update with APT-FAST

For those seeking to accelerate the update process, apt-fast is a wrapper script that employs multiple connections to fetch packages simultaneously, significantly speeding up the download process.

To Update with APT-FAST:

1. Installation

First, install apt-fast by adding its PPA (Personal Package Archive) and installing it:

2. Using APT-FAST

Like APT, start by updating the package list:

Then, proceed with upgrading packages:

APT-FAST can significantly reduce the time required for updates, making it an excellent choice for users with slower internet connections or those who value speed.

Method 3 – Update with APTITUDE

APTITUDE is another alternative to APT, offering a text-based interface and additional features for handling packages.

To Update with APTITUDE:

1. Launch APTITUDE

If not already installed, you can install APTITUDE using:

To update and upgrade packages, simply run:

APTITUDE provides a more interactive experience and offers detailed information about package dependencies.

Method 4 – Update with UNATTENDED-UPGRADES

For those who prefer a “set it and forget it” approach, unattended-upgrades allows for automatic installation of security updates.


1. Installation and Configuration

Ensure unattended-upgrades is installed:

Configure it to automatically install updates by editing its configuration file or using interactive configuration tools.

2. Enable Automatic Updates

Enable and configure automatic updates through:

This tool is particularly useful for maintaining the security of servers or unattended workstations.


Navigating the command line for updates in Ubuntu Linux is a testament to the flexibility and power of the operating system. Whether you prioritize speed, ease of use, detailed control, or automation, Ubuntu offers a tool to match your needs. Utilize these command-line methods to keep your Ubuntu system secure, up-to-date, and performing at its best.

Have you tried updating Ubuntu Linux software using the command line? Feel free to share your experiences or any additional methods that worked for you in the comments below!

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