When I install some system, I usually look for a bulk update method, one that will update my recently-installed software.

For example, in Debian, that would be changing the sources.list to point to what I want, and executing # apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade.

Is there an equivalent to this in Fedora (18)? Is there a GUI upgrade manager that I am missing?

A message in Gnome popped up that my system requires important updates. I dismissed it, as the only option it had presented me with was "Install updates", and I wasn't quite sure what would that do.

Now, the message has disappeared, and I cannot find it, not any software it might have been connected with.

What am I missing here?

  • The yum update answer is my preferred mode. But, there is a GUI software manager, if you'd like to use it. In Gnome 3, go to activities and do a search for "software update" (or find it in your list of applications). That will do the same for you, too. – dougBTV May 13 '13 at 18:28
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    I would suggest changing title of this question so that it better matched the question which is being concerned specifically with upgrading from one release to another. Upgrading all software could mean different things thus it's not aligned well with the question. – Piotr Dobrogost Oct 15 '14 at 22:03
  • @PiotrDobrogost I'm not talking about release upgrades, dist-upgrade can be use at any time for a complete upgrade... – jcora Oct 16 '14 at 6:29

Before Fedora 17

None of the Red Hat distros prior to Fedora 17 included the ability to do dist-upgrades as you've asked. This had been a long discussed option on many peoples' wish list but had never been implemented.

But before we start a clarification...

According to the Upgrading topic in the wiki, there was a method where you could put a DVD in your system for the next version of Fedora, and Anaconda would attempt to upgrade your system. Having tried this method on numerous occasions I would not consider this to be on par with the dist-upgrade available in the Debian/Ubuntu distros which actually worked very well.

Additionally having maintained RHEL, Fedora & CentOS systems for over the past decade, I would never even consider using this method for anything. It simply did not work.

So typically people would do one of the following:


Use the Rawhide release, which is the bleeding edge version, similar to how Sid is in Debian. Rawhide offers rolling releases in the sense that it always has the latest versions of packages, but it's by no means meant to be used as a day to day distro, it's really meant only for testing.

Stay with a single release

Just live with this fact and stay up to date as long as the distro stayed around, using yum. You can use yum to both apply any pending updates and/or update a single package. Additionally, yum can be used to install new packages too.

Apply all pending updates (assumes yes to all prompts):

sudo yum -y update

Update a single package:

sudo yum -y update apache\*

Install a new package:

sudo yum -y install apache\*

Software Update Applet

If you want to perform updates using a GUI you can use the software updater tool that shows up in your taskbar. This tool essentially does the same thing as the yum -y update above, and can be run on demand using the following command:



As a new version comes out, you'd manually do a fresh install and take care to copy any data and configurations forward to the new system.


Make use of PreUpgrade tool. This tool essentially just collected your setups and the names of the packages you installed and would assist you in applying them to a new installation. See @JoelDavis' answer for this technique as well.

NOTE: This is no longer an option starting with Fedora 18 though so you've been warned.

Fedora 17 and after

Beginning with 17 you can now do rolling releases.


New in Fedora 17/18 is a tool called FedUp (FEDora UPgrader) which purports to do "dist-upgrades" similar to Debian/Ubuntu distros.

FedUp (FEDora UPgrader) is the name of a new system for upgrading Fedora installs in Fedora 18 and above releases. It replaces all of the currently recommended upgrade methods (PreUpgrade and DVD) that have been used in previous Fedora releases. Anaconda, the Fedora installer does have not any in-built upgrade functionality in Fedora 18 or above releases. It has been completely delegated to Fedup.

Currently, FedUp is capable of upgrading Fedora 17 installs to Fedora 18 using a networked repository, similar to how PreUpgrade worked. More methods for upgrade are currently planned and this page will be updated as those features are completed.

Rolling Releases vs. Versioned Releases

The OP asked a follow-up question where he wanted me to elaborate on the following phrase:

"Beginning with 17 you can now do rolling releases."

When I made that comment I meant one thing and the phrase "rolling releases" really means something else. When I wrote that I meant "rolling release" to mean that you could now roll from one point release of Fedora (say 17) to version 18. Most distros such as Debian & Ubuntu provide this facility now.

However in looking up the description of what "rolling releases" actually means on wikipedia, I'm now more educated on the subject.

excerpt from wikipedia

... a rolling release or rolling update development model refers to a continually developing software system; this is instead of a standard release development model which uses software versions that must be reinstalled over the previous version. Rolling software, instead, is continually updated, in contrast to standard release software which is upgraded between versions. ...

So from a purists standpoint, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, are not "rolling releases". They are point standard released software that provide tools to assist in the upgrading from one point release to another.

The OP also asked the following question

Debian is only "kind of" rolling release if you use Sid. Rolling release = no versions, packages are just dumped into the distro from the upstream ASAP, right? So Debian is the complete opposite of a rolling release, Ubuntu as well. Fedora Rawhide is also kind-of a rolling release, but I already knew that (and don't want to use it, if that's what you were referring to).

Just so that it's clear to any future readers. Even the development branches of Debian (aka. Sid) and Fedora (aka. Rawhide) are not "rolling releases". Sure you can use them as such but they are merely a development "area" where new packages of software that may be incorporated into a future release can be presented to the community in a centralized way.

The level of testing that would go into a package being placed in one of these branches is less stringent than say when a package shows up as an update in a true "rolling release" distro such as ArchLinux (would be my expectation).

Here's the section of the wikipedia page that covers the use of development branches for standard release distros:

The distinction between rolling release software distributions and development branches of standard release software distributions is often overlooked by users inexperienced with rolling distributions. This can lead to confused comments, such as: "distro-X is a rolling distribution if you use its development branch" — where distro-X is a standard release distribution. Even in rare cases where the development branch is a rolling (versus the more common cyclical) development branch, this does not make the distribution rolling. Unlike standard release distributions, rolling release distributions do not have development branches.

  • Wrong... you have always been able to update everything in one go. You can not upgrade that way, e.g. from Fedora 17 to 18. For that a bit more dancing is required, but it is quite painless nowadays. – vonbrand May 14 '13 at 19:57
  • @vonbrand, what aspect of the answer is wrong. Please elaborate. Are you referring to using the DVD and letting anaconda update your exising system to the version on the DVD? Having tried this method on numerous occasions I would not consider that a "method" compared to the dist-upgrade which actually works. – slm May 14 '13 at 20:02
  • @vonbrand, I've updated the answer to include the Anaconda DVD installer upgrade. – slm May 14 '13 at 20:29
  • "Beginning with 17 you can now do rolling releases." - would you care providing an explanation? – jcora Jul 19 '13 at 8:19
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    If gpk-update-viewer is not installed, dnf install gnome-packagekit-updater. (Alternative: apper) – basic6 Feb 25 '16 at 14:00

You can use

yum update (to upgrade all packages )


yum update <packageName> (to update individual installed packages)

This works on a Fedora and/or CentOS and/or Redhat EL systems

You can also use

yum install <packagename> or yum install <RPM Name or web path> (to install packages on these systems as well)

There is an application called Software Updater that provides a GUI but yum is actually very efficient and pretty intuitive.

If you have any questions about what switches you can run with yum you can use yum --help

  • if you use dnf install widget it may not update it if it's already installed... but dnf update widget will update it. It seems there is some variation on this between package managers such as apt, pkg, npm and pip. – Ray Foss May 3 at 13:16

Although I found no online page that would describe this, the # apt-get upgrade alternative on Fedora seems to be # yum update.

From the man pages of yum:

update --- If run without any packages, update will update every currently installed package. If one or more packages or package globs are specified, Yum will only update the listed packages. While updating packages, yum will ensure that all dependencies are satisfied. (See Specifying package names for more information) If the packages or globs specified match to packages which are not currently installed then update will not install them. update operates on groups, files, provides and filelists just like the "install" command.

  • It is, but when yum or dnf upgrade are interrupted they are particularly awkward to recover and do not provide much help. It turns out this causes problems if the upgrade crashes the GUI (and you ran the command from inside the GUI). So you are supposed to use different methods, which nowadays include pkcon update. lwn.net/Articles/702629 – sourcejedi Feb 4 at 17:25

Generally, when going to a new version, I'll generally do a full re-install of the system. I have found updating packages in place to be quite problematic and the amount of time spent in debugging the problems there are more complex than doing a reinstall.

  • I'd like to hear more about this, please. Not having to reinstall when doing upgrades is something I liked a lot with Debian... – jcora May 13 '13 at 20:16
  • Personally, I have not found that RH/Fedora upgrades are problematic and being burnt once have done reinstalls of the new systems instead of messing around with major version updates. Minor version updates have been successful however. Debian might be different. – mdpc May 13 '13 at 20:39
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    Never seen any problem with my Fedora updates since Fedora 14 or so. The mechanism has changed significatly lately, though. But my latest Fedora 16 --> 17 --> 18 went without a hitch, mostly unattended over the 'net. – vonbrand May 14 '13 at 19:59
  • I can't wait for the 20th release to see for myself... Or I could just download 18 and upgrade to 19 but I really don't want to bother with that. – jcora Jul 18 '13 at 22:43

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