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Fast Updates, Straightaway

Fast Updates, Straightaway

Caution! Sometimes Linux distributions include no configuration tool. In these cases, you need to access a software distribution tool that makes loading optional software easy:

  • In Ubuntu 11.10, hover the mouse pointer over the icons at the left side of the desktop. In the Ubuntu Software Center, you'll find an easy-to-use configuration tool
  • With Fedora's default desktop, it's as simple as selecting Applications > System Tools > Add/Remove Software.

Linux has plenty of optional software applications, and either Ubuntu or Fedora can handle most of them. In fact, many people use Apt (Aptitude, the graphical version) or Yum (with a GUI interface, if you must) to manage and update their software installations. Is that kind of direct control too much work for you? Both operating systems offer a tool to manage system updates.

With Fedora, look for the Software Updates application below the Add/Remove Software choice. Once started, this application will scan your system (and safe Internet software depositories) for any necessary software updates. Remember, your network must be functioning to use this feature!

Updating frequently is so important to security that both distributions include an application that controls how often the system checks for available updates. By choosing Applications > Other > Software Updates, you can set the frequency for Fedora (see Figure 1). I suggest daily updates.

Ubuntu has a similar tool, located in the System Settings icon. The Software sources applet lets you choose the update schedule (see Figure 2). Again, I suggest daily updates.

Figure 1 Fedora's Software Update configuration tool.

Figure 2 Setting the update-checking schedule.

This tool not only checks for updated applications, but looks for updated versions of Ubuntu. As if that isn't enough, the first tab allows you to select safe sources for Ubuntu updates (see Figure 3). This feature can help you to ensure fairly secure software copies—a security plus.

Figure 3 Specifying secure software distributions.

Now that you understand how to configure your system to load easy tools and check frequently for updates, it's time to improve your user account practices.

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