Updating to latest Software and Patches

It is recommended that you keep your Linux installations updated with the latest components and patches. This can be achieved by updating the components from the Internet.

It is generally recommended that using the standard mirrors for the updates is sufficient. A list of optional mirrors can be found at

  • Log in as a normal user account. To do this, simply type your username in the box and hit the "Enter" key on your keyboard. Then type your password in the box and hit the "Enter" key again.
  • Run a terminal session (On the Gnome menu, select Applications > System Tools > Terminal). You may want to add a shortcut to your desktop for Terminal. This may be achieved by going to the terminal option in the menu, right click on the icon and select "Add this launcher to desktop".
  • Switch to "super user" mode. Do this by typing 'su -' at the prompt and hitting the "Enter" key. You will then need to enter the root users password and hit "Enter" again. You will know that you are in super user mode because previously at the end of the command line there was a $, whereas now there should be a #.
  • Run yum update. Do this by typing yum update and then hitting "Enter" (Note: that you may wish to use yumex for your updating which is detailed further on this page). During the installation of the updates, you will be required to hit yes to continue the installation process of updates. "Note" this process may take a few hours, depending on machine and network speed.
  • After "yum update" has finished, you will need to reboot the system for the system updates to take effect. Make sure you are still the root user. To do this type reboot and hit "Enter". This will reboot the system.

Additional Repositories

As part of your installation of Scientific Linux, you might wish to include the EPEL and ELRepo repositories.


"Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (or EPEL) is a Fedora Special Interest Group that creates, maintains, and manages a high quality set of additional packages for Enterprise Linux, including, but not limited to, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), CentOS and Scientific Linux (SL)."  For more information on this repository, it is suggested to visit

To install this repository, you simply run the following command :

yum install epel-release


The ELRepo Project focuses on hardware related packages to enhance your experience with Enterprise Linux. This includes filesystem drivers, graphics drivers, network drivers, sound drivers, webcam and video drivers. For more information on this repository, it is suggested to visit

To install this repository, you simply run the following command :

yum install elrepo-release

Note: You might want to update again once you have installed the additional resposities, as there may be updates. 

Yum Extender

A piece of software that makes it very simple to update, install and remove software is Yum Extender which is known as yumex. It is basically a graphical user interface for yum.

To install yumex (epel repo required), start up a terminal session and as root issue the following command :

yum install yumex

As you can see from the images below, the program is quite intuitive.

  • With the "updates" option selected, you can select all packages (by clicking on the Select All button), or simply select the particular packages you wish to update. Once you have selected the packages you wish to update, click on the "Apply" button to begin the update process.

  • By clicking on the "Available" option, you can easy search for a particular program/application by typing something into the filter section and hitting the enter button. For this example gkrellm was used (Which, by the way is a good tool to be able to watch your cpu, memory and such usage). By selecting the packages and clicking on the "Apply" button, the selected packages will be processed.
  • To remove a piece of software on your computer is basically the same process as installing software when using yumex. Firstly, select the "Installed" option, then select the package/s you would like to remove and then click on the "Apply" button.
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