Staying Up to Date: A Step-by-Step Tutorial on Ubuntu Update and Dist-Upgrade


The latest version of Ubuntu 20.04 has been launched on 23 April 2020. If you are still using the old version please dist upgrade now.

A Long year back, I started to use Ubuntu version 6.04. It was really hard to update ubuntu.

Slowly -2 latest versions were launched in the market one by one with new features. And Today Ubuntu has version 20.04 LTS with very attractive features. So Updating Ubuntu and its software become very easy and simple.

You can update ubuntu by command line as well as using a GUI interface. This really makes users happy and satisfied. I will cover this topic of how to ubuntu update and dist upgrade process work. what is the difference between ubuntu update and ubuntu dist upgrade?

You must check the current version of ubuntu before moving to the next step. If you know the current version then it will be better to update Ubuntu in the latest version.

Article Content

Check Ubuntu Version Installed

Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux operating systems. You can check the popularity-wise best Linux distro.

If you have installed Linux and using continuously but didn’t remember installed Ubuntu version on the system. you can check by running following command

$lsb_release -a

vijay@Ubuntu-19:~$lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID:	Ubuntu
Description:	Ubuntu 19.04
Release:	19.04
Codename:	disco

You can in the above result, I am running Ubuntu version 19.04. If you didn’t find the version after using lsb_release -a command then you can check my another article where 5 ways described to check Ubuntu version installed.

Check the configuration of Ubuntu Repository

The repository is a software center where ubuntu software is maintained by the administration team and developers. Sever location may exist different -2 location worldwide.

Every repository server has its location address.

Ubuntu uses the apt package manager to install, update, upgrade and remove packages. Apt stores a list of repositories or software channels in the file.

File Location and Name: /etc/apt/sources.list

and in any file with the suffix .list under the directory


vijay@Ubuntu19:~$cat /etc/apt/sources.list
#deb cdrom:[Ubuntu 19.04 _Disco Dingo_ - Release amd64 (20190416)]/ disco main restricted

# See for how to upgrade to
# newer versions of the distribution.
deb disco main restricted
# deb-src disco main restricted

## Major bug fix updates produced after the final release of the
## distribution.
deb disco-updates main restricted
# deb-src disco-updates main restricted

## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team. Also, please note that software in universe WILL NOT receive any
## review or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb disco universe
# deb-src disco universe
deb disco-updates universe
# deb-src disco-updates universe

## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu 
## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to 
## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in 
## multiverse WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu
## security team.
deb disco multiverse
# deb-src disco multiverse
deb disco-updates multiverse
# deb-src disco-updates multiverse

## N.B. software from this repository may not have been tested as
## extensively as that contained in the main release, although it includes
## newer versions of some applications which may provide useful features.
## Also, please note that software in backports WILL NOT receive any review
## or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb disco-backports main restricted universe multiverse
# deb-src disco-backports main restricted universe multiverse

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from Canonical's
## 'partner' repository.
## This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is offered by Canonical and the
## respective vendors as a service to Ubuntu users.
# deb disco partner
# deb-src disco partner

deb disco-security main restricted
# deb-src disco-security main restricted
deb disco-security universe
# deb-src disco-security universe
deb disco-security multiverse
# deb-src disco-security multiverse

# This system was installed using small removable media
# (e.g. netinst, live or single CD). The matching "deb cdrom"
# entries were disabled at the end of the installation process.
# For information about how to configure apt package sources,
# see the sources.list(5) manual.

Read more about Ubuntu repository

Update Ubuntu

When you have completed adding repositories in sources.list file, your next step to update headers of the repository list.

You can run the following commands to update information about available software version stored in the repository

You can run the following commands to update Ubuntu.

$sudo apt-get udpate
$sudo apt update

You can see the result following:

vijay@Ubuntu19:~$sudo apt-get update 
[sudo] password for vijay: 
Hit:1 disco InRelease
Hit:2 disco-updates InRelease
Hit:3 disco-backports InRelease
Get:4 disco-security InRelease [97.5 kB]
Fetched 97.5 kB in 2s (39.2 kB/s)   
Reading package lists... Done

Keep in Mind: apt-get update command will not upgrade ubuntu or Softwares

When you run apt update or apt-get update command, Both commands will not update a single tool or software. Neither ubuntu will be updated nor software.

If you want to update software you must run apt-get upgrade command.

Ubuntu dist upgrade

When we talk about the update it means we want to our Ubuntu OS and its software up to date.

You can upgrade/update software by using apt-get or apt command followed by upgrade switch. before running the apt-get command make sure you should be root user or sudo user.

$sudo apt-get upgrade

245 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 3 not upgraded.
Need to get 444 MB of archives.
After this operation, 15.4 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] 

Ubuntu has made off with two sub-systems one is core system and another is a software system.

All the software will be updated in the newer version when you will run the apt-get upgrade command.

But the core system will not be updated with apt-get update command You must run the following command to update the core system as well as a software system.

$sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
$apt dist-upgrade

248 upgraded, 5 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 511 MB of archives.
After this operation, 350 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] 

Update ubuntu by using GUI

Mostly user like a graphical interface, why so ubuntu comes with better graphical interface nowadays. You will become a garden when you hear that ubuntu update possible by using GUI

And Yes, this is pretty easy to update ubuntu by GUI

Step 1: Open Software update


It will check automatically for available updates for the core system and software system


Step 2: Click on the install now to start installation process


Step 3: give the current user password and click Authenticate to continue process



By now you have learned how to update ubuntu. ubuntu dist upgrade for updating core system and upgrade for updating software system only. If you don’t like command line you can use GUI to update ubuntu.

Thanks for Reading


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