How to Get Email Notifications for Updates on Debian/Ubuntu

You will be notified by the systems (servers) itself that you are managing if there are any new software updates, security fixes and other upgrades by Software Updater (GUI). The Software Updater will automatically pop-up and notify if there are any new updates when you login to your system.

If you don’t login to your system often, you don’t get these update notifications and you may forget to keep your system up-to-date. How do you get the update notifications even you don’t login your systems often? There are so many solutions are available, one of them is Apticron.

Apticron is a simple script which sends daily emails about pending package updates such as security updates, properly handling packages on hold both by dselect and aptitude. The apticron packages lets you know the important things such as whether there are any new updates, which of them are important and which of them are required to update immediately.

Install Apticron on Ubuntu/Debian

I tested this how-to in Debian 7 and Ubuntu 13.04. Its worked for me as I expected.

Run the following command to install Apticron:

sk@sk:~$ sudo apt-get install apticron

Configure Apticron

Open up Apticron config file /etc/apticron/apticron.conf and enter your valid email address:

sk@sk:~$ sudo nano /etc/apticron/apticron.conf 

# apticron.conf
# set EMAIL to a space separated list of addresses which will be notified of
# impending updates

# Set DIFF_ONLY to "1" to only output the difference of the current run
# compared to the last run (ie. only new upgrades since the last run). If there
# are no differences, no output/email will be generated. By default, apticron
# will output everything that needs to be upgraded.

Save and exit the file.

Now Apticron will send you update notifications to your email once a day. You can decide which should be updated and which should be omitted or postponed. If there are no updates, then it doesn’t send any mail.

For more details about Apticron, refer the man pages.

sk@sk:~$ man apticron