I have a VPS hosted somewhere running Ubuntu 10.04. How do I know when to patch the system? Is there a notification system analogous to, for example, Mac OS or Windows warning me (through email) to apply updates?


I'll recommend the apticron package.

It'll check for updates every day, and hit you with a nicely formatted email with package names and change logs when there are new ones pending (using the DIFF_ONLY option).


Install apticron.

Sends an e-mail daily with details of required updates, perfect for servers.


Ubuntu warns you while you login to a shell. And you can setup Ubuntu so that it automatically installs security fixes.


You could use a simple cronjob to notify yourself about updates. Depending on the distribution you use, the package-manager will show you the available patches.

On ubuntu you could create a script like this:

aptitude update >/dev/null
aptitude dist-upgrade -s

You should make sure that you get the cronjob emails. Run this script once a week via cron, and you should receive a mail with a list of available updates.

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