Software Updater vs. Synaptic

Help my curiosity and start a discussion? :wink:

System is a VirtualBox VM running UM 16.04 64-bit while I get set to install on my main machines soon. As I write this, Synaptic reports 43 upgradeable packages while Software Updater reports only 8. As an experiment, I used Synaptic to update only the 8 and sure enough… Software Updater was satisfied all was up to date. This left 35 packages still pending in Synaptic and most were bug fixes and enhancements upstream.

I assume the difference is intentional risk-managing or some sort of vetting delay. But there may be very good reasons I’m not aware, too.

But I’ve gotten used to Synaptic’s nice search-able history and been using it for everything for most of the last decade. Yeah, hard to change us old fellows. :grin:

Here’s my questions…

What’s the expert consensus on using Synaptic? Is the risk substantial? Where does Software Updater keep its logs? Recommendations?

All Comments Welcomed. TIA!

Just my two cents but I have always used Synaptic. My installs are all from beta to final release using Synaptic!

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I don’t classify myself as an expert.
With the initial issues with gnome software, software boutique, and software updater I totally gave up on gui and resorted to command line apt. The commands used are simple

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade -y
sudo apt autoremove -y

the -y is because I’m lazy - don’t have to answer the questions. You can try them individually in a terminal just ignore the first line [use it if you want to make a simple script]


I believe one difference is Software Updater updates once every 24 hours. However if you use the reload button in synaptic I would think that would also reload your updater. Myself, I have disabled the updater and just use synaptic. There are other methods that I have not used, but may be of interests to you. Like making your updater update more often with a terminal command and cron.

or cron-apt

And mirrors can also be a problem if the mirror in use is not often updated. For a update status:

You got my two cents :slight_smile:


Hiya v3xx. I reload often and for any comparisons but this was about as much difference I’ve ever seen. 2 or 3 has been common but not 35.

But you raise a good point. I assumed the same repos get the same data from the same mirrors into the same database for both Software Updater and Synaptic (and apt, too, for that matter). If I’m wrong about this, someone please whack me.

Hi pfeiffep and thanks for the input. I have 2 servers without any DE but when I install Synaptic it pulls in enough X11 to allow ssh -X sessions from remote desktop. So I’m kinda hooked. :grin:

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Hi exploder, great to hear from a fellow Synaptic user. I’m curious if you noticed the new hiding scroll bars that get in the way? I went looking to see if they were configurable. :wink:

Sorry folks… just learning this @ thingy… the multi-post detection worked perfectly and I got the message.

Hi @Bill_MI,

you can’t beat Synaptic but it isn’t very good for beginners!.

The Welcome app is trying to cover this problem for the Ubuntu Mate noobs but it also needs to have a few more tweaks, in general, it is very well thought out!.

I tried to cover a little about Synaptic in this guide, any thoughts for improvement are welcome:


Just learned something directly related! I never went to this level of detail before…

This morning, Synaptic had the same 35 changes upgradeable but Software Updater gained 19 of these! A screenshot from yesterday proves Synaptic has exactly the same 35 packages.

So it’s apparent there must be a filter on Software Updater that Synaptic does not use.

And before anyone asks, I update both Software Updater and Synaptic within seconds of each other so it’s not a reload difference. I installed those 19 and Software Updater is now up to date and Synaptic still has 16 to go. So far no new updates are involved.

I assume the Mate team is vetting these updates somehow?

This should answer the question: “Phased Updates”


Hehe… it sure does. Interesting idea, too. This also explains differences I’ve seen in 2 machines at the same time that I scratched my head about but never looked deeper.

At first it looks like a guinea pig process but that’s not fair since it’s really just an extra safeguard and probably helps spread bandwidth, too.

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