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How to stay up to date with the latest information about UNIX software patches and upgrades?

I am learning system admin stuff on the side at home for some near future additional job responsibilities added to my normal programming job.

Today I was playing around with OpenLDAP, and I had to install Oracle BerkeleyDB, OpenSSL, Kerberos, and CyrusSASL to get the package compiled and running with the option to use its security features such as SASL and SSL/TLS.

It hit me that if one were running an LDAP server in a real environment, one would have to keep track of bugs, patches and updates for for all of the software dependencies. I was curious how professional admins keep up to date with all of the various bugs out in the open and the necessary patches required.

I suppose that RPM and other package managers help significantly with this problem, but are there other tools and tricks of the trade?

  • 1
    This is just one of the great reasons why modern Linux distributions are so convenient compared to the bad old days when you had to compile almost everything yourself from the compiler on up!
    – Celada
    Jan 19, 2013 at 20:05
  • Well, I don't feel like the "duplicate" was really addressing or answering my question...I was asking about tools and tricks and that "duplicate" thread didn't really address it...besides having only two answers anyway. Oh well though...
    – Dr. Watson
    Jan 20, 2013 at 5:43

1 Answer 1


Since you mentioned rpm, I am just blind guessing about RHEL. If so, yum check-update is a great way to know about what updates are pending for a given system. You can also install the yum-utils plugin with which you can just download the update packages and can install later. Great for use if the server is out of internet.

Or you can get the plugin yum-plugin-security and just check the security fixes with yum --security check-update` command and install whatever necessary.

Obviously, this just covers few aspects of yum and there are hell lot of other tricks also. As has already been told, modern package managers make the job extremely easy.

If you are concerned about updates of a particular package or kernel that needs to be applied to an earlier package or needs to be backported, you just need to check the change log of the new package.

rpm -q --changelog <new_package_name>

It will show all the bugfixes since the earlier version to the new one. Great way to compare two servers.

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