Most BSD systems had a fairly rudimentary way to upgrade themselves ‘over the air’ with the command “make world & make install” and old hackers could even remember Vax had similar capabilities, too.
It was Debian GNU/Linux that made the concept of distribution upgrade popular and very user friendly. All you have to do to upgrade any Debian system is type one command: apt-get dist-upgrade. Debian’s release notes mention an automatic upgrade tool dselect for the first time on Debian GNU/Linux 1.3 release notes, dated August 11, 1997
More recently, upgrading any GNU/Linux distribution without a DVD and from a live system is the norm and I wouldn’t expect less. After all, isn’t Apple’s App Store an imitation of Debian’s APT repository or Fedora’s RPM package archives?Article first published as Upgrade In-Place was Availble Long Before Apple Lion on Technorati.