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Debian GNU/Linux FAQ
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8.2 How can I keep my Debian system current?

One could simply execute an anonymous ftp call to a Debian archive, then peruse the directories until one finds the desired file, and then fetch it, and finally install it using dpkg. Note that dpkg will install upgrade files in place, even on a running system. Sometimes, a revised package will require the installation of a newly revised version of another package, in which case the installation will fail until/unless the other package is installed.

Many people find this approach much too time-consuming, since Debian evolves so quickly -- typically, a dozen or more new packages are uploaded every week. This number is larger just before a new major release. To deal with this avalanche, many people prefer to use a more automated method. Several different packages are available for this purpose:


Debian GNU/Linux FAQ
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