we all know it is a pain in the ass to have to upgrade our linux systems. I am sure there are other automated patching programs for some distro's out there, but I like this one.
as you can no doubt tell, its called red-carpet. I have found it very easy to use, and it makes life simpler if you have multiple machines to patch.
currently it is available for : Debian, SuSe, Yellow dog, Red Hat, and Mandrake.
check out the link and enjoy. PS...it is not limited to the gnome environment...it works just as well in KDE.