Can't do an update with sudo apt-get update & sudo apt-get upgrade, pasting output in this message

William Scott Lockwood III scott at
Fri Dec 14 22:25:57 UTC 2012

On Dec 14, 2012 4:01 PM, "Colin Law" <clanlaw at> wrote:
> On 14 December 2012 21:37, William Scott Lockwood III
> <vladinator at> wrote:
> > On Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 3:27 PM, Colin Law <clanlaw at>
> >>
> >> On 13 December 2012 23:11, James R McKenzie <jimmckenzie at>
> >> wrote:
> >> > For the record, no other update process was running.
> >> > Jims64BitLinuxMint13LapTop ~ # sudo apt-get update & sudo apt-get
> >> > upgrade
> >>
> >> Just for the record, for keeping everything up to date you should use
> >> sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
> >>
> >> Colin
> >
> >
> > While generally I agree with this advice, I wouldn't necessarily do that
> > with servers. Some things that are held back (like new kernels) are held
> > back for very good reasons. You should only use dist-upgrade if you're
on a
> > workstation that you don't care about potentially blowing up, or on
> > you're testing/qa'ing on for eventual release to production.
> I don't understand what you mean.  From man apt-get:
> upgrade
>   upgrade is used to install the newest versions of all packages
> currently installed on the system ...
> dist-upgrade
>   dist-upgrade in addition to performing the function of upgrade, also
> intelligently handles changing dependencies with new versions of
> packages ...
> I don't quite see how that relates to your comments.  Can you clarify?
> Colin

Sure. If you have ever managed 1000's of servers as I have, you will learn
very quickly that dist-upgrade can really bite you. It's much more of a
problem with Ubuntu than with Debian, but it can still be a problem with
both. While I would say things are a lot better than they were 5 years ago,
they're still not perfect, and dist-upgrade has broken a few servers in
production for me in the last year, even with testing, so use it carefully.

Also, just because that is what the tool says it will do, doesn't mean that
is what actually happens in practice.

If you're just doing this on a workstation, well then, no great loss if you
do this, and it gets foobar'd. Do it on a company file server and foobar
that - suddenly you start wishing you let upgrade TELL YOU some things were
held back, so you can QA them somewhere other than your production

There is nothing worse than, "PRODUCTION: the Ultimate Testing Environment".
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