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OpenSuSE 11.1 Quick Start Guide
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3.3 Keeping the System Up-to-date

openSUSE offers a continuous stream of software security patches for your product. The openSUSE Updater applet informs you about the availability of patches and lets you easily install them with just a few clicks. The openSUSE community also provides updates to newer versions of software packages. openSUSE Updater optionally keeps a list of all programs installed on your system and informs you whenever newer versions are available. Whats more, openSUSE Updater can also search for and install new drivers when new hardware is attached.

NOTE: Patches vs. New Versions

The patches offered by openSUSE either fix security holes or serious errors in the software. A patch normally does not upgrade to a newer version and does not offer additional functionality. A new program version offered by the community may offer fixes, too, but primarily adds new functionality.

The openSUSE Updater applet resides in the system tray (KDE) of your panel or in the notification area (GNOME) as an icon depicting the head of the openSUSE mascot (Geeko), which changes depending on the availability and relevance of patches and the status of openSUSE Updater. Whenever the icon changes, a tool tip displaying the current status is shown, too.

Green Geeko Head with Green Arrows

No patches available. When new versions are available, a tool tip appears when the mouse is moved over the icon.

Green Geeko Head with Yellow Arrows (KDE) / Gray Geeko (GNOME)

openSUSE Updater is busy (for example checking for updates, installing software).

Red Triangle with Exclamation Mark

Security patches available.

Orange Star with Arrow

Recommended or optional patches are available.

Yellow Triangle with Exclamation Mark

An error occurred.

Blue Circle with Question Mark

No update repository is defined. When you click the openSUSE Updater in this state, you are asked whether to check for updates. If you agree, the YaST Online Update Configuration module is started.

3.3.1 Installing Patches

Whenever the openSUSE Updater icon shows the availability of patches, left-click to open the software installation window. It lists the number of Security and Recommended patches available. While the security patches are installed by default, you can choose whether to install the recommended ones as well. Some patches, such as new kernel versions, require to restart your computer. Check Do not Install Updates that Require a Restart to skip these updates for now. Start updating your system by clicking Install.

A click on Details opens the Available Updates window which shows a detailed list of all patches and allows you to alter the selection of packages that will be installed. Apart from the patch name the Type (Security, Recommended or Optional), a short Summary and the patch version number is shown. Patches are sorted alphabetically by default—change this by clicking on a column headline (Name, Summary, Type, New Version, Catalog, or Restart). Click Install to proceed.

You will be prompted for the root password after having proceeded with Install. openSUSE Updater performs the installation of the patches. See the system tray (KDE) or the notification area (GNOME) for status messages and a progress meter.

The YaST Online Update offers advanced features to customize the patch installation. Please refer to Section 5.0, YaST Online Update, (↑ Reference ) for more information.

3.3.2 Installing New Software Versions

New software versions are available from software repositories provided by the openSUSE community. By default, no such repositories are preconfigured. To add a repository, right-click on the openSUSE Updater icon and choose Add/Remove Update Sources. You need to enter the root password to start the Configured Software Repositories module. A list from which you can choose popular community repositories is already preconfigured (Add > Community Repositories), for even more community repositories refer to

WARNING: Trusting External Software Sources

Before adding external software repositories to your list of repositories make sure this repository can be trusted. openSUSE is not responsible for any potential problems arising from software installed from third party software repositories.

openSUSE Updater does not monitor repositories for new software versions by default. To enable this feature, open the configuration window as described in Section 3.3.3, Configuring openSUSE Updater and tick the check box Show Available Upgrades When Back-End Provides Them check box. When the openSUSE Updater icon indicates the availability of updates, click on the icon to launch the software installation window. Click on Details and then on the Upgrade tab to open the list with new software versions. Either select single packages by checking the box in front of an entry, or click Select All Packages. Install starts the installation of the selected software packages. You will be prompted for the root password. See the system tray (KDE) or the notification area (GNOME) for status messages and a progress meter.

3.3.3 Configuring openSUSE Updater

By default openSUSE Updater is started on login, checks for updates every 24 hours, shows recurring notifications every 60 minutes and only monitors the availability of patches. To change this behavior, right-click the applet icon and choose Configure Applet.

Figure 3-1 openSUSE Updater: Configuration

The configuration dialog also offers to change the following settings:


Choose between different back-ends. The Package Kit Plugin is used by default. If you prefer the ZYpp Plugin, make sure the package kde4-kupdateapplet-zypp is installed.

Always Show Detailed View

Activate this option when you prefer the detailed patch view that lists all patches available with short summaries rather than the simple view.

Check for Updates only When System Is Connected to Charger

Prohibits checking for updates when running on batteries in order to save power. This option is activated by default but only affects mobile computers.

Check for Updates only When System Is under Low Load

Prohibits checking for updates when the system is under heavy load. This option is activated by default.

Search for Drivers When New Hardware is Attached

Provided a repository offering appropriate drivers, openSUSE Updater can automatically install drivers for hardware such as USB devices.

OpenSuSE 11.1 Quick Start Guide
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  Published under the terms fo the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire