What is the 'update-alternatives' command in Linux?

Issuing time: 2022-05-13

The 'update-alternatives' command in Linux is used to manage the list of available updates for a given application. This command can be used to install multiple versions of an application at the same time, or to select which version of an application should be installed when a new update is available. The 'update-alternatives' command also allows you to change the default application that is used when an update is available.

How do you use the 'update-alternatives' command?

The 'update-alternatives' command is used to manage and configure the list of available update alternatives for a system. It can be used to install updates from a specific source, or to select an alternate installation method for a particular update. The 'update-alternatives' command has several options that allow you to specify how updates are installed, as well as which updates should be selected.

To use the 'update-alternatives' command, first determine what type of update you need:

If you need to install a new package, use the 'install-package' command instead.

If you need to upgrade an existing package, use the 'upgrade' command instead.

If you want to uninstall an existing package, use the 'uninstall-package' command instead.

What are some benefits of using the 'update-alternatives' command?

The 'update-alternatives' command is a powerful tool that can be used to manage and configure alternative software packages. Some of the benefits of using this command include:

  1. The ability to easily find and use alternative software packages.
  2. The ability to quickly and easily change or switch between different software packages.
  3. The ability to manage multiple software installations at once.

What does the 'update-alternatives' command do?

The 'update-alternatives' command is used to manage and configure alternative software sources. It allows you to select which packages from a set of available packages are installed on your system. The update-alternatives command also provides information about the selected alternatives, such as their status and description.

How can I update my software using the 'update-alternatives' command in Linux?

The 'update-alternatives' command in Linux allows you to choose from a variety of software updates. You can use this command to update your system's default software, or to install specific software updates.

To use the 'update-alternatives' command, first open a terminal window by pressing the "Ctrl+Alt+T" key combination on your keyboard. Then type the following command:

update-alternatives --config linux

This will display a list of all available software updates for your system. To select an update, simply click on it with your mouse cursor. The selected update will be installed automatically on your computer. If you want to uninstall an update, simply press the "X" key on your keyboard after clicking on it with your mouse cursor.

Is it possible to update multiple programs at once with the 'update-alternatives' command in Linux?

Yes, it is possible to update multiple programs at once with the 'update-alternatives' command in Linux. The 'update-alternatives' command allows you to list all of the available alternative programs for a given program name. You can then select which alternative you want to use by specifying its name as an argument to the 'update-alternatives' command.

To update multiple programs using the 'update-alternatives' command, first identify which programs you want to update. You can do this by running the 'which program' command on each of the programs that you want to update. Next, run the 'update-alternatives' command on each of these programs, specifying their respective alternative names as arguments. Finally, select which alternative you want to use by using its name as an argument to the 'update-alternatives' command.

If you need help finding alternatives for a specific program name, or if you are unsure how to use the 'update-alternatives' command, please consult your system's documentation or online resources.

What are some potential problems that can occur when updating software with 'update-alternatives'?

There are a few potential problems that can occur when updating software with 'update-alternatives':

  1. The update-alternatives utility may not be able to find all of the available alternatives for a given software package. This can result in an error message when trying to update the software, or in some cases, no updates at all being offered.
  2. Alternatives may not be compatible with each other, which can lead to unexpected results when trying to use them together. For example, if you have two alternative versions of a program installed on your system, and you try to run one of them instead of the default version, you might get errors or unexpected behavior from the program.
  3. If there are multiple versions of a program installed on your system, update-alternatives may choose one of those versions rather than offering an updated version of the program that includes both alternative versions as options. In this case, it's important to manually select which version of the program you want to install by using 'update-alternatives'.

Can I use the 'update-alternatives' command to downgrade a program version?

Yes, you can use the 'update-alternatives' command to downgrade a program version. The 'update-alternatives' command allows you to specify one or more alternative program versions that should be used in place of the current program version. If the current program version is an older version than one of the alternatives, then the 'update-alternatives' command will install the newer alternative instead.

Will using the 'update-alternitives' command erase my current program files?

No, the 'update-alternatives' command will not erase your current program files. The 'update-alternatives' command is used to list all of the available alternatives for a given program and allows you to select which alternative you would like to use.

'Update alternatives'- what does this mean for me and my computer system running Linux?

What is an update alternative?

When you install a new Linux kernel, the system will automatically choose one of the available alternatives to install. This can be helpful if you want to try out different kernels without affecting your current system. Alternatives are also useful when upgrading from one version of Linux to another.

The list of available alternatives is stored in /etc/update-alternatives and it's updated every time a new kernel is installed or upgraded. The following table lists some common uses for update alternatives:

Use Case Alternative 1 Alternative 2 Automatic selection when installing a new kernel Automatic selection when upgrading from one version of Linux To disable an alternative, simply remove the line that references it from /etc/update-alternatives . For more information, see Manually selecting an update alternative. To manually select an alternative, use the following command: sudo update-alternatives --config linux_kernel_version You can also use the "upgrade" command to select an alternative during an upgrade: sudo upgrade -a If you're using GNOME 3, you can access the Update Manager by clicking System Settings > Administration > Updates. In addition to selecting which updates to install, Update Manager allows you to set up automatic updates for your computer. For more information, see Automatically updating your computer with Update Manager in GNOME 3 or How do I configure automatic updates on my Ubuntu machine?

Manually selecting an update alternative

To manually select an alternative, use the following command: sudo update-alternatives --config linux_kernel_version where linux_kernel_version is either

FAQs about using Linux update alternatives

Q: What does "automatic selection when installing a new kernel" mean? A: When you install a new Linux kernel, unless specifically told not too by choosing one of its available alternatives (see Use Case Alternative

  1. 6 , 36 , or Alternatives are listed in order of preference so that the first option will be used if there are no other options available (or if the first option has been disabled). If there are multiple options available, then Update Manager will display a list of choices and allow you to select which one should be used. You can also use this command to change which kernel is currently being used as the default: sudo update-alternatives --set default=linux_kernel_version If all else fails and you don't know how to change which kernel is being used as the default, then please consult our FAQ section below for help!
  2. , your system will automatically choose one of those offered as part of its installation process - usually called 'the latest stable' or 'current'. This means that even if later on downgraded or upgraded again (for example due to breaking changes) you won't lose any data since everything was already backed up before hand! Q: Why would I want to disable an existing choice instead of removing it completely from /etc/update-alternatives ? A1 : Sometimes people might only ever want certain upgrades (e.g., security fixes) applied automatically while leaving others unchanged; disabling their chosen choice achieves this goal without having anything permanently written into '/etc/update-alternatives '. Q2 : How do I find out what's currently being used as my default choice? A2 : There's no easy answer here unfortunately; depending on your distribution and configuration details it may vary slightly between distros but typically something like this would work in most cases:: $ cat /proc/sys/kernel/default/linux_kernel $ ls -l total 16 drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 4096 Feb 21 17:3.