Isn't it weird that you type upgrades and get updates?

Why did this question: Is there a command to find updatable packages? get negative votes?

As I explained in the comment. The problem is here ، It should be like this: apt refresh and then apt list --updatable and finally apt update ، Upgrades are usually about hardware, not software.

  • Likely because the question is unclear and closed as such. It is less concerning about 'negative votes' and more important that the question was closed. I assume you've read through the comments on the question? The 'terms' of upgrades and updates come from Debian and are legacy terminology - the area to address this is Debian, not Ask Ubuntu.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Jul 26, 2021 at 16:30
  • Meta here is not the place to talk about definitions of technical terms, but to talk about our site and what happens on here. Asking about why these terms are like this could be on-topic on the Ask Ubuntu main site, but still, asking for a change is not going to work, the community here is not on control of those.
    – Byte Commander Mod
    Jul 29, 2021 at 10:56

2 Answers 2


The definitions of both update and upgrade come from Debian, not Ubuntu. If you want those terms changed, you must convince the Debian community (not us).

If Debian changed the definitions tomorrow, we would follow suit.

It's important for everybody to use the same terms so we understand apt-related and deb-related questions and answers properly.

So don't make this a one-person fight, and don't trick new users into confusing everybody.


You are misunderstanding what the words are referring to. Which is understandable, it isn't particularly obvious. However, apt update will update the list of available packages. On the other hand apt upgrade will upgrade installed packages to their latest version. But, before you can upgrade your system to the latest version, you need to first update the list of available packages so you can know what the latest version is.

So I do understand your confusion, but the reason is because it is one thing that is being updated (the package list) and another that is being upgraded (the packages themselves).

From man apt:

update (apt-get(8))

update is used to download package information from all configured sources. Other commands operate on this data to e.g. perform package upgrades or search in and display details about all packages available for installation.

upgrade (apt-get(8))

upgrade is used to install available upgrades of all packages currently installed on the system from the sources configured via sources.list(5). New packages will be installed if required to satisfy dependencies, but existing packages will never be removed. If an upgrade for a package requires the remove[sic] of an installed package the upgrade for this package isn't performed.

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