Back in past years, the habit I had had with my Linux computers was such, that I would not do a complete upgrade of all installed packages. Instead, I would often tell my package manager to install some new packages, and view the message it generated, according to which many packages were to be held back and not updated, as part of the new installation. I used to acknowledge this in general, and allow it to happen.
By contrast, I did notice how often Windows Update does its job, and how my Windows computers were never or seldom broken by a Windows Update. However, it had happened to me on occasion, that the Linux computers could get into some sort of stability issue, over upgrades I had done. And so I had reached the vague conclusion, that Windows Update was somehow better, than the habit of doing complete upgrades under Linux.
What I now have is two computers, on which all the packages I have installed are at their most recent version, due to the ‘
unattended-upgrades‘ package which I have installed, and which I wrote before in This Earlier Posting.
What I now find, is that my Linux computers that are up-to-date, are at least as stable as my Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 machines, if not more stable. And so advice which I was once given but had ignored, seems to have been accurate, according to which my earlier practice of only upgrading a minimum of libraries, was a bad practice, and according to which doing so, introduced stability problems of its own.
Having said that, If we are given a Debian / Linux machine which requires upgrades to a large number of packages, let us say to more than 20 packages, then we effectively need to do a ‘
dist-upgrade‘ to achieve that most reliably, and even then, this one-time action can fail, and can leave us with an unstable or broken system.