check Manually-Installed / Source-Compiled (MISC) packages for updates!
Zoom link misbehaves if not specified as linux.
Slight rewording in project README



You can also use your local clone with git send-email.


#Check Manually-Installed and Source-Compiled (MISC) packages for updates.


On Linux systems, one generally installs packages through their distribution's dedicated package manager (e.g. apt on ubuntu-based systems).

However, for whatever reason, every now and then, one needs to install a package on their systems manually, whether this comes in the form of a pre-packaged tarball that simply needs to be extracted at an appropriate location, or a source-tarball that needs to be compiled and installed via the usual ./configure && make && make install mechanism, etc.

One of the main functions of a package manager is to check whether newer releases exist for the packages installed on the system, and notify the user when such updates exist. However, in the case of MISC packages, unless a package implements its own 'check for updates' mechanism, the user is not aware when updates are released, unless they periodically remember to manually check the respective websites of all MISC packages installed on the system.

This script is a super-simple approach to solving that problem.


#The script:

This repository contains a simple script which checks a selection of MISC packages, and notifies the user when a new version has been released for any of them. In my case, it currently checks for:

  • The amazing Gnu Nano editor (latest source release) --- the version typically offered by most linux distros tends to be horribly outdated!
  • Anki (latest binary tarball) --- Anki sometimes notifies you of updates, but not always)
  • Gnu Octave (latest source release) --- the version typically offered by most linux distros tends to be horribly outdated, and generally compiling from source is much more versatile. The gui interface does actually notify you of new releases, but the cli (which I prefer to use) does not.
  • Julia (latest binary tarball)
  • The Zoom Video Conferencing application (latest .deb file). Zoom tells you of updates inside the app, but only after you click on 'check for updates' yourself.
  • The Alpine terminal email client.
  • The calcurse terminal calendar application
  • Lagrange, a very nice browser for the gemini protocol
  • Libreoffice - I always install libreoffice directly from libreoffice.org, as the versions in the repositories tend to be outdated.

Additionally, the script checks 'itself' for updates as well (i.e. if a new release of misc-updater exists here on sourcehut!)

Each MISC package is represented by a simple .misc executable script, placed in the misc-scripts folder. The only specification for these scripts is that they should be designed such that:

  • If called with a 'current' argument, the script should print the current version of the corresponding program, e.g. as installed on your system.

  • If called with a 'latest' argument, the script should print the latest version, e.g. as obtained from the internet.

  • If called with a 'check' argument, the script should perform any additional checks needed, if any. Typically, this is simply a null operation.

  • The name of the script should match the name of the program executable as it exists on your system path, with the extension .misc added to it. This is because the program name resulting from the filename will be used to check the existence of the executable on your system path.

See misc-scripts/README for details to create your own misc scripts.

Note: If you've written a .misc script that you'd like me to consider officially adding to this repository, feel free to create a pull request (e.g. via git send-email on sourcehut). I will test and add as appropriate; feel free to leave copyright notices and/or author information in your own scripts. If you desire to use a different license from the rest of the project, you're welcome to do so, but please indicate this clearly, e.g. via a separate program.LICENSE file corresponding to the program dealt with by your update script.

#How to use:

Assuming you cloned the repository, e.g. in /opt/misc-updater.git, then simply add the /opt/misc-updater.git/bin folder to your PATH.

If you don't know how to do this, typically you simply add this line (using the correct directory) to your ~/.bashrc file:


Usage hint: I use this alongside my normal package manager's cli updater, so that I see updates for both my system packages and MISC packages simultaneously. For this, I have created the following alias in my .bashrc file:

alias checkupdates='mintupdate-cli -r list; echo; misc-updates'

(where in this case, mintupdate-cli -r list happens to be my particular distribution's cli command to check for updates)

It goes without saying that, assuming you "installed" misc-updater by cloning the repository from sourcehut, if 'misc-updates' has an update itself, the easiest way to 'upgrade' would be to do a git pull to update your git repository.


This script is generally intended to act as an 'updater', not an 'upgrader'. I.e. it is not intended to 'upgrade' packages, it simply checks for 'updates' and notifies the user to act accordingly if any exist (i.e. much like a typical package-manager's update function).

This is partly by design, since the whole point of Manually-Installed and Source-Compiled packages is that different people have different preferences as to how or where to install their programs on their system.

Having said that, a 'misc-upgrade-scripts' folder has been provided, with an example 'upgrade' script. The functionality of misc-updater does not rely on the existence of this folder in any manner at the moment. However, if there is interest for people to add upgrade scripts, or for coming up with some sort of standardization, and/or linking a bit more formally to the updater, I will consider it.