The easiest way to update your security patches for a Linux distribution is to use the apt-get commands. APT stands for Advanced Packaging Tool, and it works with core library repositories that hold software to remove and install functions on your box. This tool simplifies the process of software installation by automatically retrieving the appropriate program, configuring and installing pre-compiled files, and compiling the source code.

The library repositories are massive, and apt-get runs of a source list that can be configureed for stable, un-stable, and bleeding edge versions of whatever software you are seeking.

To update your source list, go to /etc/apt/sources.list and add the repositories which correspond with your Linux distribution. After that, updating, upgrading and installing software is easy.

Just go to your command line and type the following commands:

apt-get update

root@computer~# apt-get update

This command synchronizes the package index files from the source lists that you just added to your sources.list file. This is the first step to updating software and security patches.

apt-get upgrade

root@computer~#apt-get upgrade

This command installs the newest versions of software packages installed on your system. Once again, this is working off your sources.list file. A very useful function of apt-get is that it looks for dependency packages that an install may need so you don’t have to look all over the place for dependent software.

apt-get dist-upgrade

root@computer~#apt-get dist-upgrade

This command is where the “smart” technology comes into play. It looks for conflict of packages and will only upgrade the highest of importance, leaving lower priority packages alone.

apt-get install <package name>

root@computer~#apt-get install php5

This command installs the package of your choice.

apt-get remove <package name>

root@computer~#apt-get remove php5

This command removes the package of your choice.

apt-get purge <package name>

root@computer~#apt-get purge php5

This command removes the package and all configurations associated with it.

apt-get autoclean

root@computer~#apt-get autoclean

This command removes old packages that are no longer installed on your system.

apt-get clean

root@computer~#apt-get clean

This command removes all packages from the package cache. This is needed to rebuild your apt-get cache if something goes wrong. Use apt-get update, and you’re right as rain again.

Overall, these commands are completely necessary to keep your Linux system up to date with the latest security packages, as well as everyday installation of packages used for various purposes. Learn these commands and your box will always be up to date.