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Update All Package Versions on Your SUSE Linux 10.0 Machine

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Scott M. Morris

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Posted: 21 Dec 2005
 

Applies to:

  • SUSE Linux 10.0

Introduction

Everyone likes to keep an updated system. This is true both in terms of security updates and software versions. Fortunately, SUSE 10 provides for both of these types of updates. It's security update mechanism is called Yast Online Update, or YOU. This makes sure that any security patches available for your current software are downloaded and applied. YOU will not be covered here. I would like to outline how to make sure, through YAST, that you have all packages on your system updated to the latest possible version. It's actually quite simple.

It's worth a note, however, to mention that because a lot of these packages are bleeding edge, slight system instability may occur from performing the updates listed here.

Installation Sources

First, we need to make sure that we tell YAST every place that it can install software from. These places that YAST uses to install software are called "Installation Sources." There are several of these sources available for SUSE 10. Let's make sure that YAST knows about them. Go ahead and open YAST.

Make sure SOFTWARE is selected in the pane on the left. Then, select INSTALLATION SOURCE from the options on the right:

A window comes up titled "Software Source Media." This is where we tell YAST about where to look for available packages to install:

To illustrate how to add these, let's put in the PACKMAN Installation Source, first. From this "Software Source Media" window, click ADD, then HTTP:

A little window comes up asking you to fill in the information about the Installation Source. It will already have HTTP selected. All we need are the server name and the directory on the server. In the server name, type packman.unixheads.com, and in the directory, put suse/10.0. When you're done, click OK:

After a little patience, you'll see that the PACKMAN Installation Source appears in the list of our "Software Source Media" window:

You will also notice that there is a column called REFRESH. It will be set to OFF. Let me take a second and explain what this is.

When you go into YAST to install software, you will probably want to be browsing the very latest of what's available. If the REFRESH value is set to ON, it will "refresh" the list of available packages from all of your Installation Sources when you go in to install packages in YAST. If it is set to OFF, it will not refresh these lists. The great thing about having it ON is that you will have the very latest available software at your fingertips when you go into YAST to install packages. However, the drawback is that it can take several minutes to refresh each of your Installation Sources. Personally, I love having access to the bleeding edge. So for me, I like to have it refresh, and I will turn all of my installation sources ON. Alternatively, if you notice that one of your sources always takes forever to refresh, you can turn that one off from this screen.

So we have added the PACKMAN Installation Source. Here is a list of all of the sources that I have added on my machine. Feel free to add any or all of them, as you prefer:

UPDATE (2005-01-12): I have found faster mirrors for some of these installation sources, and have changed them accordingly. I also found that they seemed faster if they were all HTTP servers. Thus, they are all listed as HTTP now.

YAST Installation Sources
Name Type Server Path
PACKMAN (we just did this one) HTTP packman.unixheads.com suse/10.0
GURU HTTP ftp.gwdg.de pub/linux/misc/suser-guru/rpm/10.0
NOVELL KDE Supplementary HTTP mirrors.kernel.org suse/i386/supplementary/KDE/update_for_10.0/yast-source
NOVELL Gnome Supplementary HTTP mirrors.kernel.org suse/i386/supplementary/GNOME/update_for_10.0/yast-source
SCHIELE HTTP pi3.informatik.uni-mannheim.de ~schiele/suse/10.0
SCOROT HTTP ftp.gwdg.de pub/linux/misc/suser-scorot/suse100
FERNANDEZ HTTP www.polinux.upv.es ~vfernandez/suse/10.0
SUSER LIVIUDM HTTP ftp.gwdg.de pub/linux/misc/suser-liviudm/10.0
USR LOCAL BIN HTTP ftp.gwdg.de pub/linux/usr-local-bin/10.0

Note: Other Packman mirrors can be found here.

When you get all of these in there, you can click FINISH to close this window.

If you know of one that isn't here that should be or one that is here that shouldn't be, let me know via my author page.

Alrighty, now that YAST knows where to go and how to get there, we need to perform the system update.

Global Package Version Update

Let's open YAST (or go back to it if you still have it open). Make sure SOFTWARE is selected from the pane on the left. Select SOFTWARE MANAGEMENT from the options on the right:

The YAST package installation window appears. If you set REFRESH to ON in your Installation Sources, it also refreshes the lists of available packages from each one. If this takes too long for your taste, you can turn the REFRESH to OFF for the Install Sources during everyday use. However, if you are updating your system packages, as we are here, you will definitely want REFRESH set to ON for all of them. If not, doing the update is fruitless, because YAST will not even be aware of the newer packages sitting out on the Installation Sources.

Again, if a particular installation source takes excessive time to load, please turn the REFRESH to OFF for that install source. They are 3rd-party sources, and thus, neither Novell nor myself are able to speed them up in any way. If they take too long, it's quick and easy to disable them.

After a few minutes, you will see the window appear. In the FILTER drop-down box in the upper left corner, select PACKAGE GROUPS:

All of the package groups appear in a drill-down tree. In this pane, scroll clear to the bottom, and select the very last option, called "zzz-All":

Next, we'll go over to the right pane. Right-click anywhere in this pane. A small menu appears. Select ALL IN THIS LIST. Another small flyout menu appears. Select UPDATE IF NEWER VERSION AVAILABLE:

If you scroll through your list, you will see that many of the packages are in blue, with a black and green REFRESH icon next to them:

To perform the update, click ACCEPT in the lower right corner of the window.

Another window will probably appear, called CHANGED PACKAGES. It is just resolving dependency issues for you (don't you just love SUSE?). It is safe to click CONTINUE here:

YAST then begins downloading and installing all of the newer versions that your system has available for it from all of your Installation Sources. During this process, you will probably be prompted for your SUSE 10 installation discs, so you'll want to have them handy. There may be as much as 1.5 or 2 Gigabytes' worth of updates available. When it is finished, it will ask if you wish to install more software. Just click FINISH.

Conclusion

It is great to have so many Installation Sources available. Once you have put them all into YAST, you can then perform your system-wide update. This downloads and installs the latest versions of all the software on your system. I recommend performing this update once a week to twice a month. This way, you can download the stuff as it becomes available. What a great way to keep your system up to date. Go SUSE.


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