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I would like to set some Ubuntu Server VM's to always pull updates (nightly) with out asking?

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3 Answers 3

Have a look at cron-apt

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1  
+1. Please use a tool already built for this. –  Zoredache May 18 '10 at 22:04
    
nothing wrong with using a tool pre-made for these things, but when you're talking about installing a package vs. a 1 line cronjob, it gets a little bit of a toss up. –  cpbills May 19 '10 at 1:19
    
@cpbills: The suggested 1 line cronjob does a bad job when it comes to error reporting: You just get a daily mail by cron containing all the ouput. cron-apt is a bit better here. –  Florian Diesch May 19 '10 at 16:55
    
@Florian Diesch what error output are you going to see? it's running in the background to update apt-get, and then download the packages (since he said he wanted to download only) and adding 2> /var/log/auto-apt 1> /dev/null would log errors. heck, even 1> /dev/null would only mail error messages. they are both solutions, depending on the person, one may be preferable to another, and for /me/ the single line cronjob would be preferable. –  cpbills May 19 '10 at 16:59
    
@cpbills: Of course your solution is fine but cron-apt has some more features that may very well worth installing an additional package. As for the messages I like to have errors and updates logged to syslog so they are in the right context, get archived and I get notified via my usual log checker –  Florian Diesch May 19 '10 at 17:28

There is an article here that will tell you how to disable the update pop-up.

You then need to run

apt-get update
apt-get -y upgrade

from root's crontab

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i wouldn't recommend unattended updates, but you can do something like this:

create a file... update.sh for example, throw it in /usr/local/sbin/

#!/bin/sh
apt-get update
apt-get -y dist-upgrade

run chmod 700 /usr/local/sbin/update.sh and chown root.root /usr/local/sbin/update.sh

then in root's crontab, add a line:

15 03 * * * /usr/local/sbin/update.sh

this will kick off your apt-get update and apt-get -y dist-upgrade every night at 3:15am

or just:

15 03 * * * /usr/sbin/apt-get update && /usr/sbin/apt-get -y dist-upgrade

in root's crontab sudo crontab -e to edit it.

if you want to download only:

15 03 * * * /usr/sbin/apt-get update && /usr/sbin/apt-get -yd dist-upgrade
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3  
the only reason i don't recommend automatic updates is that sometimes new packages clobber your old custom configurations. –  cpbills May 18 '10 at 20:53
    
I agree, but that can at least be mitigated to a certain extent by installing something like etckeeper which will keep your configuration files in git/bzr. If they packagers do their job and follow the policies there isn't supposed to be any config breaking changes that happen during a single release. –  Zoredache May 18 '10 at 22:08
    
... local repository ... –  Arthur Ulfeldt May 18 '10 at 22:55
    
sure, there is that, if you just want to download the updates... but you didn't ask that. –  cpbills May 19 '10 at 1:09

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