Every day I get an email from cron-apt if there are updates available for my Debian systems (I use it in download-only mode). A typical email might look like

CRON-APT RUN [/etc/cron-apt/config]: Tue Aug 27 04:00:03 BST 2013
CRON-APT SLEEP: 866, Tue Aug 27 04:14:29 BST 2013
CRON-APT ACTION: 3-download
CRON-APT LINE: /usr/bin/apt-get dist-upgrade -d -y -o APT::Get::Show-Upgraded=true
Reading package lists...
Building dependency tree...
Reading state information...
The following packages will be upgraded:
   cacti (0.8.7g-1+squeeze1 => 0.8.7g-1+squeeze2)
   [...more updates...]

Usually I'll be happy to apply these updates, but there are occasions when I'll choose not to: perhaps the update fixes a feature which I don't use, but would require a disruptive action (e.g. an Apache restart) to apply.

Is there a way of telling apt 'I'm not interested in that package update, so don't mention it again unless there are further updates'?

I don't want to pin the package, because future updates might be of interest.


You can tell cron-apt to search only for high priority updates. If you do not want to be bothered by high priority updates for some particular packages, then you should not use those packages and deinstall them---problem solved. If that's not a solution for you, you should think again about security. ;)

| improve this answer | |
  • There are two problems with this: I often want non-high-priority updates, and some high priority ones contain fixes that I don't care about. If (e.g.) bind gets security-patched for a feature that I definitely don't use, then I don't want to restart my nameservers to apply it. – Flup Aug 28 '13 at 10:24
  • Frankly, I don't understand your priorities. bind is a good/bad example. If your name services can not tolerate a downtime of one instance for a few seconds , then you really need to think about other things than tuning cron-apt, seriously. – Johannes Aug 28 '13 at 10:31
  • bind was just an example; the principle is that I don't want to patch and restart things if I don't have to. Let's say we're talking about varnish or apache for a production system, in an organisation which doesn't have the luxury of failover infrastructure. – Flup Aug 28 '13 at 10:34
  • Maybe apticron is a better match, since you only want notification, but no automatic actions. It is simpler and offers DIFF_ONLY, i.e. it sends you only that part of apt-listchanges that you did not see already. You can still use cron-apt for silent downloads. A package more or less in the cache doesn't harm. Another tip: you can use plain apt-get install <package> in order to do step-by-step upgrades. Used with care you can greatly reduce downtime in some cases. – Johannes Aug 28 '13 at 10:39
  • Ah, thanks for that, apticron does look like an incremental improvement. I know about apt-get install for single package upgrades: I'm very risk-averse so I tend to do them one at a time :) – Flup Aug 28 '13 at 11:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.