I am setting up an ubuntu server and want to know what I should be doing on it regularly.

apt-get update/upgrade seems obvious.

Is there a glsa check for example? Anything else I should be running? I guess it depends on what is installed, but I am thinking of the core system for now.


Upgrading packages as you mentioned is the most important thing. A couple of tools that can make that easier:

  • cron-apt, to notify you by email when there are upgrades to install; and
  • unattended-upgrades, to automatically apply non-interactive upgrades

Ubuntu also has a security announcement list, but in my experience it is really just a duplicate of the package upgrades that cron-apt will notify you about. On the other hand it will provide a bit more information on what is being fixed (or what is vulnerable) in each security upgrade.

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I installed munin on my servers so that I can monitor all sorts of things about them, including whether apt thinks there are packages to install.

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If you want to just do the updates create a text file with:

apt-get -yq update
apt-get -yq upgrade

and add it to crontab for whatever timeline you want.

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  • Doing this will also likely clobber any configuration file changes you may have made – Martin OConnor Feb 10 '09 at 17:36
  • Although I suppose that could be a problem in some cases I have yet to experience it myself i have 4 Local Debian servers and 4 Remote (Datacenter servers) ones also running Debian and I've been using debian as my only server OS for a few years. – Unkwntech Feb 11 '09 at 20:02
  • Forcing "yes" (-y) is awfully dangerous. – bortzmeyer Feb 12 '09 at 9:55
  • I "could" be but as I said above this has yet to fail me. – Unkwntech Feb 12 '09 at 10:42
apt-get moo

try it :)

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I put the following line in /etc/crontab

2 */2 * * * root    apt-get -qq update && apt-get -qq -y --force-yes upgrade && apt-get -qq clean

Beware that it does not install new packages, therefore it might miss some kernel updates: you still have to run synaptic/aptitude once in a while.

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