What is the difference between updating using dnf and using Gnome Software?

How is updating with sudo dnf update command different from updating with Software?


You can read the detailed description of the offline updates feature here:


The key difference is that Software downloads your updates and then applies them in a minimal environment when you reboot. By contrast, the DNF command line applies the updates right away.

95% of the time this won’t matter, but there are two cases where it can:

  1. Sometimes, running applications behave oddly when an update is applied underneath them. Firefox is one example – sometimes, it will crash, and other times you get weird behavior you only find out about later.
  2. The minimal environment is pretty safe. If you are running DNF in a terminal window in a GUI session, and something happens to lock up or crash X or Wayland, this will abruptly end the update in the middle, which may be a mess to clean up. (Power can still fail during the “offline update” done by Software, but a crash is less likely).

Also, of course, the DNF command line is much more flexible, allowing you to update just individual packages or add other options. And no reboot required — but, be aware that some security fixes might not actually take effect until you’ve at least restarted the relevant programs.


Or, what I always do is run dnf updates in runlevel 3 (system console), then reboot to normal mode.

1 Like

This is one of the best explanations I’ve heard. Also, the 5% where the method does matter were very rare on my Fedora install. I usually update everything via dnf and only had a gui break once. And I was able to recover from system console and finish the update. Also, it was my fault for letting the computer go to sleep during an update ha ha. Still, most new users ought to go the reboot route until they get more experience under their belt, in my opinion.


Heh. I have been administering Linux at home and corporate UNIX systems since the early 80s (for the UNIX ones). Single user mode upgrades have always been the rule. No matter what the chances are of needing to, it’s better to be safe than sorry. It only takes a couple of minutes more.


Thank you. I understand well. I use Software.

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