- List of all files that are installed when you install
less /usr/share/doc/unattended-upgrades/README.md.gz, after you’ve done
sudo apt install unattended-upgrade
- The ArchWiki page on msmtp
Let’s do this on a fresh Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial) virtual machine, using Vagrant, to demonstrate.
Create the new VM and ssh into it
$ mkdir myUnattendedUpgradesDemoVM $ cd myUnattendedUpgradesDemoVM $ vagrant init ubuntu/xenial64 $ vagrant up $ vagrant ssh
Install and enable unattended upgrade
unattended-upgrade isn’t enabled by default (even after you
apt install it), so you have to run
dpkg-reconfigure to enable it:
$ sudo apt install unattended-upgrades $ sudo dpkg-reconfigure unattended-upgrades
Answer yes to Automatically download and install stable updates?
Accept the default origins pattern, which configures
unattended-upgrade to install only stable and security upgrades.
First do a dry-run:
$ sudo unattended-upgrade -v -d --dry-run
If everything looks good, do a real run:
$ sudo unattended-upgrade -v -d
unattended-upgrade to send you email notifications you need to install a program that provides the
(the command that
unattended-upgrade calls when it wants to send an email) and a Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) program (a program
that actually sends the emails, that the
mailx command talks to), and make sure that the root user can send mails using the
I want an MTA that’s able to use the SMTP server of my email provider (Gmail, FastMail etc) so that it can send
emails to my real email account (rather than doing something like appending to files in
msmtp is an MTA with SMTP support that’s easy to set up.
$ sudo apt install msmtp msmtp-mta bsd-mailx
bsd-mailxis a package that provides an msmtp-compatible
mstmpup to the
Create an msmtp config file for the root user:
$ sudo nano /root/.msmtprc
Here’s an example of what the contents of this file should look like for FastMail:
account fastmail host smtp.fastmail.com port 465 from <YOU>@<YOUR_DOMAIN> user <YOU>@fastmail.com password <A_FASTMAIL_APP_PASSWORD_FOR_SMTP> auth on tls on tls_starttls off tls_certcheck off logfile /root/.msmtp.log account default : fastmail
Test that the root user can successfully send email using the
echo "This is the email body" > /tmp/body.txt && sudo mailx -s "This is the subject" [email protected]_DOMAIN < /tmp/body.txt; rm /tmp/body.txt
unattended-upgradewhat email address to send emails to. Edit
/etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgradesand set the
Email notifications are better, but it’s worth knowing that
unattended-upgrade logs everything in the
/var/log/unattended-upgrades/unattended-upgrades.log contains recent log entries.
Older log entries are in the log dir in gzip files. And there’s also a
TODO: What’s the default behaviour when a reboot is required? Send an email?
You can set
/etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades to reboot automatically.
There’s also a
reboot-notifier package but it seems to conflict with a bunch of Ubuntu and Gnome desktop packages.
TODO: How do you get it to email you or do the upgrade when a new release upgrade is available?
Hypothesis’s servers have a
/etc/cron.weekly/update-notifier-common script containing
[ -x /usr/lib/ubuntu-releaseupgrader/release-upgrade-motd ] || exit 0 that does this, comes from the
update-notifier-common package which is a dependency of
update-notifier, but this seems to be installed by default. Is it enabled to send email notifications by default?
— Sean Hammond,