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In Linux, when you delete an open file the space it occupies isn't released until all programs using it are closed. In the case of a program, that would mean that it doesn't go away until you close it. Thus, you can update a running program, but you'll still be using the old version until you close and reopen it. I'd presume, however, that if you update something like xterm, that can have multiple copies running, you could have both an old and a new version running at the same time, but I've never tested it.