How To: Update Ubuntu From The Terminal

It’s possible, even easy, to update Ubuntu from the terminal. Personally, I almost always update from the terminal, regardless of distro. This article will tell you how to update Ubuntu from the terminal – but it’s equally valid for Debian, official Ubuntu flavors like Lubuntu or Kubuntu, and it’s also valid for distros based on Ubuntu or Debian – such as Mint.

I recently did an article about updating Fedora from the terminal. Boy howdy, I hope that link works! It’s scheduled for publication so it doesn’t show me the real URL that it’ll have when it has been published! So, I hope I typed it properly! Either way, I recently did said article and figured I might as well do one for Ubuntu.

The tool we’ll be using is known as ‘APT‘ and apt has been a staple of Linux since Debian introduced it in the late nineties. It’s known as “Advanced Package Tool” and is used to configure and install applications. Even if you’re doing it graphically, it’s usually apt under the hood when you’re using Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, etc…

There really isn’t a whole lot to this, so it should be a reasonably short article. It’s also an article that may make the terminal more approachable for people who are new to Linux. Once you see how easy it is, you might decide to try it yourself! If it goes well, you might learn more about the terminal and the many ways you can use it. We can find out!

Update Ubuntu From The Terminal:

This article requires an open terminal, like oh so many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should pop open.

Once you have your terminal open, you’re going to update your database of available software and the version numbers of said software. This database will be checked against the database of software (and versions) that you have already installed. It’s just a simple command:

That’ll let you know if there’s any software that needs to be updated and may take a few seconds to complete. If any software is available it will let you know and you can upgrade to the newest version. The notification will look something like:

You can, as stated, see which applications need to be upgraded to new versions by running that command. This upgrade process may also add or remove system software as needed. But, to upgrade, it’s just as easy:

This will spit out a list of software that will be updated, will be added, or should be removed – and you can enter “Y” to agree to the upgrades before pressing ENTER to continue. That’s it, you’re done.

However, I like to alias (an article still not written should link here) all this to a single command. My actual command looks like this:

That will update the database and make sure it completes successfully. It will then upgrade the software, effectively entering the Y for you. Finally, it will automatically remove software that’s no longer needed. Some folks might consider that command a bit risky to run automatically, but I’ve been doing it for years. Use it at your own risk!

Closure:

That’s it, actually. There’s really not that much more I can tell you about how to update Ubuntu from the terminal. Sure, there are other apt commands, but those aren’t really important for this article. Unlike the Fedora article, there’s no handy way to undo an upgrade with apt.

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How To: Update From The Terminal In Fedora

It may seem silly to write an article about how to update from the terminal in Fedora, but it’s not! There’s actually a reason for doing this and there’s more to it than just updating! I’ll try to keep the article brief, but we’ll just have to hope for the best.

If you don’t know what Fedora is, it’s a distro primarily sponsored by Red Hat. In 2003, RHL was nixed in favor of RHEL, a paid distro. Fedora is a community maintained distro based on RHEL and even the trademark is owned by Red Hat. 

So, it’s a pretty solid distro with a few versions. There’s a workstation, IoT, and server edition. It’s binary compatible with RHEL and is widely used, with something like 1.2 million users. Support is through the community, which is a distinction between Fedora and RHEL where support is a paid option. Fedora also has some community spins that offer things like different desktop environments.

I should probably note that, since the changes to CentOS’s direction, RHEL is pretty much free for SOHO use. You can download it and use it on your workstation right now. See this link for more information about getting and using RHEL free – it’s a lot nicer an agreement than you may think!

Anyhow, on to Fedora… 

The motivation behind this article is that there’s an ‘undo’ option for DNF that’s pretty neat. However, out of the box it doesn’t do much. There are some extra steps you’re going to want to take and none of the sites that I’ve visited ever seem to put these two together.

This article aims to address that!

Update From The Terminal In Fedora:

Obviously, you’re going to need your terminal open. To do this, you can just use your keyboard and press CTRL + ALT + T. That should open your default terminal.

Once your terminal is open, you can upgrade like so:

That should update your system to the latest and greatest. In fact, you can list your previous DNF history with the following command:

Now, here’s the neat part… When you run the history command above, the first column is an ID column and you can undo a specific update with this command:

Except that pretty much never works. Fedora isn’t in the habit of keeping archived versions in their repositories. So, this is the neat part, you need to add a repo that contains those archives. That’s the missing step!

This isn’t a perfect undo, but it’s a far sight better than it is without that repo being added. For the most part, it works. If it’s not working, it may ask you to use either (or both) the --allow-erasing or --skip-broken flags and, from my testing, that appears to make it work well enough most of the time.

So, if you want to use the undo feature offered by DNF, you should really add that archive. Doing so will make a more robust solution when you attempt to update from the terminal in Fedora.

Closure:

And there you have it. With that, you should be able to update from the terminal in Fedora with some greater confidence. With that little change, you can actually undo (some/many) updates if they go awry or if you need a little more time before you can use the newer versions of your applications. It’s not that hard and my observations tell me that it works with some regularity – if you’ve added the archive repo.

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Create A New User With SUDO Privileges In Ubuntu

It’s not unusual to want to create a new user with sudo privileges and it’s actually really easy. This will be just a quick article that explains how. It’s not exactly a complex operation.

This article doesn’t cover other distros! It has only been tested in a couple of Ubuntu derivatives and not all distros come with ‘adduser’. It should probably work if you install ‘adduser’ where available, but that’s entirely untested by me. Give it a shot and let me know in a comment if it works out for you.

You may want a multi-user environment, you may want different logs for different users, you may want some customization with one user, you might want to test things with a separate user, etc… There are tons of reasons for wanting a different account and wanting a new user with sudo privileges.

I shouldn’t need to mention this, but sudo stands for ‘superuser do’. Users that belong to the sudo group are pretty much omnipotent. They can access anything, change anything, and do anything they please. You’ll use sudo to do things like install software or edit system files.

Anyhow, I’ll explain how to create a new user with sudo privileges in this article. It’s a pretty easy task and you shouldn’t have much trouble with this one.

Create New User With SUDO Privileges:

This article requires an open terminal, like many other articles on this site. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, you can do so with your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

The tool we’ll be starting with is called ‘adduser‘, and the name tells you what it does. With your terminal now open, you start by entering the following to add a new user:

Once you’ve done that, you’ll be asked to type the new user’s password twice, and then you can fill in some additional information for that user. Those steps aren’t necessary, but you will want to add a password for the user – and definitely so because it’s an account that has access to sudo.

Now that you have created a new user, you’ll need to modify that user. The newly created user doesn’t come with sudo access by default, you need to grant it. The tool we’ll be using for this is ‘usermod‘ and the command to make the new account a new user with sudo privileges is:

At this point, you should be able to login and use the newly minted user account. Indeed, you should have a new user account and that new account should have sudo privileges.

CLOSURE:

See? I told you that this wouldn’t be a long or difficult article. If you want a new account and you want that account to have sudo privileges, it’s just a couple of easy commands away. This is yet another article in what’s turning out to be quite a long list of articles.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Install ShellCheck So That You Can Use It Locally

If you’ve been writing shell scripts, or if you’re new to writing scripts, you may not know of ShellCheck – and you that can install ShellCheck for use locally. This means you don’t need to go online to check  your shell scripts, saving you time and effort – as well as being available offline.

If you don’t already know of ShellCheck, march your ass over there right this minute! It’s one of the greatest tools on the internet. If you’ve already read the whole linked page, you can pretty much skip this entire article! After all, it tells you how to install ShellCheck over there – and I’ll be duplicating a lot of that here.

Why am I duplicating it? Because so few people seem aware of it. So few people know this tool exists, even for online use. Time and time again, I see scripting questions that can be debugged/resolved using this wonderful ShellCheck tool.

So, like many of the articles on this site, it’s here so that we can link to this article and not have to repeat ourselves time and time again. Like much of the site, it’s meant to save time and to avoid duplicating effort!

There are other ways to use ShellCheck, such as directly in your editor. This article will not be covering those other ways, I’m simply going to tell you how to install it and use it from your terminal.

Install ShellCheck For Local Use:

Like so many of these things, you need to start with an open terminal. To do so, use your keyboard – just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open. If it doesn’t, just open it from your application menu.

Once you have the terminal open, you can install ShellCheck. It’s available in most default repositories, so you shouldn’t have any issues installing it.

Debian/Ubuntu:

Arch/Manjaro:

Fedora:

OpenSUSE:

One of those ought to work. If not, follow the link in the second paragraph, poke around, and you’ll see that you can likely get ShellCheck installed with little or no difficulty. Worst case, you can grab the binaries and install it manually.

Using ShellCheck is even easier. You just use ‘shellcheck’ and then the path to the script. So, it’d look something like one of the following:

It’s really that easy. ShellCheck isn’t perfect and it doesn’t recognize every error, but it’ll catch a ton of beginner mistakes and typos. It’ll catch syntax issues and punctuation mistakes. It’s pretty handy and is absolutely a great tool for anyone that does any scripting at all.

Closure:

And there’s another article! This one will help you install ShellCheck, a fantastic tool for people who need to check their scripts. It’s right there in the application’s title! Really, more people need to be aware that it exists, and hopefully this article does a little something to help raise awareness.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Don’t Let Applications Close When The Terminal Is Closed

You may have started an application from the terminal and noticed that those applications close when the terminal is closed. This article will help you stop that behavior. This should be a pretty basic and speedy article.

Let’s explain what I mean with a demonstration. First, open your terminal by pressing CTRL + ALT + T. Now, enter the following:

Change the ‘pcmanfm-qt’ to the file manager you use, like ‘nemo’, ‘spacefm‘, or whatever it is you use to manage files in a graphical way. Any one will do. 

Now, close the terminal that you used to open your file manager or application. When you do so, you’ll see that applications close when the terminal is closed. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Enter ‘nohup‘, a lovely tool that will let you open applications in the terminal and then make sure that those applications don’t close when the terminal is closed. The ‘nohup’ application should be installed by default on any major distro and the man page describes it like:

nohup – run a command immune to hangups, with output to a non-tty

If you check the man page, you’ll see that it has pretty much no useful flags other than help and version. So, straight away you’ll see that it’s a pretty easy application to work with.

And, with that ease in mind, I’m just gonna go straight into telling you how to use it.

Applications Close When The Terminal Is Closed:

Seeing as you already opened the terminal, let’s not mess about and just show you some uses of ‘nohup’. Let’s say you use ‘nemo’ as your file manager:

Now close the terminal. See? When you use ‘nohup’ you’ll not have applications close when the terminal is closed.

You may see the command used with an ampersand (“&”) symbol at various tutorial sites. What that does is it runs things in the background. This means it should immediately return to the command prompt after the application has opened. This only works if you’re using bash, by the way. If you use it, it looks something like this:

Anyhow, after you’ve used ‘nohup’ to open an application without the ampersand, you can also just press CTRL + C and disconnect the running application from the terminal while returning you to the command prompt. Later, when you close the terminal, you’ll find see that no longer do those applications close when the terminal is closed.

That’s about it, really. I don’t see any reason to stretch this article out by adding fluff. You’re welcome!

Closure:

There ya have it. Another article. This one will help you change the behavior, if you don’t want to have applications close when the terminal is closed. 

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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