Automatic updates

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Automatic updates

Postby Mikelos » 2018-02-28 14:09

Hello,

I'm new to Linux world. Now I'm using Linux Mint, but I discovered that Debian on my computer is a lot faster and I like it better, especially with XFCE desktop. However one thing that bothers me is that my computer doesn't update automatically. I know how to do it manually - as root: apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade. I just don't know how to configure automatic updates. Ubuntu has automatic updates pre-configured and a window appears from time to time to ask me if I want to install updates. In Linux Mint I have update manager in a tray, where it turns yellow (Numix theme), when there are updates.

I found a page about this in Debian WIKI - https://wiki.debian.org/UnattendedUpgrades

Quote from the WIKI page:
As of Debian 9 (Stretch) both the unattended-upgrades and apt-listchanges packages are installed by default and upgrades are enabled with the GNOME desktop. Rudimentary configuration is accessible via the "Software & Updates" application (software-properties-gtk).

I don't understand anything from it how to do it outside GNOME, my computer is old and XFCE is the best desktop enviroment I can hope for. Is there a script for enabling automatic updates or a simpler way to do it or a GUI that works outside GNOME? Once I tried only installing software-properties-gtk on Debian Stretch with XFCE, but I don't think that enabled automatic updates.
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Re: Automatic updates

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-02-28 15:04

The full instructions are in the linked page: just edit /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades and un-comment the lines for the repositories from which you want to update automatically.
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Re: Automatic updates

Postby Bulkley » 2018-02-28 15:35

Just a small caution from an old guy who doesn't trust any sort of automatic update. I like to read the list of upgrades provided by Apt before I agree to it. Every once in a while I catch it wanting to upgrade something I want held back. That's not a problem with Apt; it's a problem with me. I don't like surprises.
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Re: Automatic updates

Postby Mikelos » 2018-02-28 16:00

OK, as far as I understand following Debian WIKI page should make my computer update automatically, but consequently I won't even see when it is updating. Is there a way to achieve something similar to automatic update's method of Linux Mint or Ubuntu? In other words, make it visible and not 'fully' automatic? Let it check updates by itself automatically, but also let user see them and install them manually. Thanks, Bulkley, for pointing it out explicitly.
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Re: Automatic updates

Postby Bulkley » 2018-02-28 16:50

I have recently seen a sort of semi-automatic update tool. It looked a bit like what you describe in that it displays the available updates but leaves it to the user to push the button. I'm not sure where I saw it but I was playing with MX and Antix so maybe there.
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Re: Automatic updates

Postby Mikelos » 2018-02-28 18:02

Yes, I've seen it in MX Linux. For me this distribution has some flaws, but overall it's good and stable distro based on Debian Stable. It's newbie - oriented. It comes with mandatory repos of MX Linux and Debian repos are treated as secondary - because of that it loses some stability of Debian Stable. To sum up, it's more similar to Debian than Ubuntu, but it's not just modified Debian, but a separate distro. I think that Linux Mint is more similar to Ubuntu than MX Linux to Debian, however Ubuntu is far less similar to Debian.

Consequently, pure Debian Stable with such a semi - automatic update mechanism would be better for me than MX Linux.
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Re: Automatic updates

Postby stevepusser » 2018-02-28 18:17

As the guy that's built most of the updated packages in the MX repo, I agree that you lose the automatic security backports in the main Debian repos, but MX still gets most of its packages from those, and we try and stay on top of the others. We'd consider ourselves much closer to Debian than Mint to Ubuntu. kmathern is currently reworking the "MX Updater" program to add the unattended upgrades feature if the user wants that. Basically, it's just python-qt scripts that use the command-line tools, plus yad and gtkdialog to provide some GUI elements.
The MX Linux repositories: Backports galore! If we don't have something, just ask and we'll try--we like challenges. New packages: mvp 0.29.0, Pale Moon 27.9.4, wine-staging 3.13, MPC-QT 18.03, Linux kernel 4.17.8, ffmpeg 4.0.2
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Re: Automatic updates

Postby Mikelos » 2018-02-28 18:46

I admire your great work towards Linux community. It was just my thoughts about this. Your semi - automatic update mechanism is brilliant. I just felt that Linux Mint is closer to Ubuntu in terms of usage than MX Linux to Debian. Thanks for the clarification. I apologize for the fact that I was objectively wrong. It was just my subjective point of view. MX Linux is for sure one of the best of Debian's derivatives. Of course it has some flaws, but any operating system has some flaws. MX Linux and Debian are operating systems that have some flaws, but less than the others.

In my free time I'll try to install Debian in place of Linux Mint and I'll try to follow Debian WIKI instructions. I know that it will be fully automatic feature, but I don't think that I have a choice, if I want to use pure Debian Stable.
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Re: Automatic updates

Postby Dai_trying » 2018-02-28 21:56

I have written an updater for Q4OS which I also use with Basic Stretch installations and it gives an icon in the system tray which changes based on the state of available updates, I'm sure there are better offerings available as I am not a major coder but if you wanted to try it you are welcome to.

It is a Python package (script) and uses synaptic package manager to actually update the packages although it is run without a main window and just shows the update box. You are given the opportunity to review the updates before either cancelling or applying them although I have not implemented a selection method to only install some, so if there are updates you don't want to install you would need to run your own update procedure manually.

The source is available on github and there is a deb file available from http://dsbnet.tk/tmp/apt-updater_0.0.1-21_all.deb.

It has worked for me and some users I provide support to, and if you do find any problems I will fix them.
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Re: Automatic updates

Postby Mikelos » 2018-03-01 16:34

I've never heard of Q4OS. I was searching for an interesting distro based on Debian Stable that is lightweight and I found antiX and MX Linux (I know that MX Linux is considered mid-weight on DistroWatch, but it is still more lightweight than many distros). My preference between those two is MX Linux (I know that they are very close to each other). I think that I'll probably change my plans. I'll try to install Q4OS.
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Re: Automatic updates

Postby Dai_trying » 2018-03-01 20:44

If you decide to use Q4OS you should visit the forum and in the "Tips and Tutorials" section there is a Post a simple small update notifier that has a esh installer (specifically for Q4OS) which makes installation very easy, just double click the downloaded file and you will get a "windows-like" installation.

I have been talking to a friend who very much likes MX Linux and the reported memory usage of a basic install is not incredibly higher than Q4OS, so I wouldn't say it is really mid-weight, if it is classed as mid-weight then I would imagine it to be at the lighter end of the scale.
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