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Versions of Ubuntu that are not yet released (pre-alpha/alpha/beta/rc) don't seem to notify when updates are available. Stable releases notify me on occasion until I dismiss them and then come back, but I can't figure out when.

How does the update manager determine when to prompt users?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Update manager is configured not to notify on updates on pre-release versions of ubuntu. This prevents update notifications from occurring all day long due to frequent updates during the pre-alpha through beta phases of a release cycle.

It's important to manually update frequently or you won't be able to report issues due to out of date packages.

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