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What is the Difference Between Apt-Get Upgrade and Dist-Upgrade?

Apt-Get Upgrade installs the newest version of files from existing packages. Currently installed packages are never removed. Packages not already installed are never retrieved to be installed.

upgrade is used to install the newest versions of all packages
currently installed on the system from the sources enumerated in
/etc/apt/sources. list. Packages currently installed with new versions
available are retrieved and upgraded; under no circumstances are
currently installed packages removed, or packages not already
installed retrieved and installed. New versions of currently installed
packages that cannot be upgraded without changing the install status
of another package will be left at their current version. An update
must be performed first so that apt-get knows that new versions of
packages are available.

Apt-Get Dist-Upgrade manages dependencies and will upgrade the most important packages while preventing conflicts:

dist-upgrade in addition to performing the function of upgrade,
also intelligently handles changing dependencies with new versions
of packages; apt-get has a "smart" conflict resolution system, and
it will attempt to upgrade the most important packages at the
expense of less important ones if necessary. So, dist-upgrade
command may remove some packages. The /etc/apt/sources.list file
contains a list of locations from which to retrieve desired package
files. See also apt_preferences(5) for a mechanism for overriding
the general settings for individual packages.
Updated on April 17, 2017

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