Unattended Upgrades

We are managing a number of Debian servers in the office, for various internal applications. Initially, it was a simple matter of upgrading the servers manually. However, as the number of servers grew, the amount of repetitive apt-get upgrade commands that need to be entered became tedious.

Unattended-upgrades to the rescue!

Fortunately for Debian Squeeze, it is already packaged in the repository and installation is a simple matter of:

# apt-get install unattended-upgrades

However, what most guides do not tell you is that there is an additional step that is required to be done before it will automagically work. We need to configure apt to actually trigger the unattended upgrades. It is not triggered by default.

To do this, just issue a:

# dpkg-reconfigure unattended-upgrades

Answer yes when prompted whether to “Automatically download and install stable updates” as in the screen below:

That does it!

PS: To make it even friendlier, I have also configured each server to send an email to the system administrator whenever a system is updated.

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