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My Update Manager is set up to download and release security updates silently in the background. Therefore release notes are no longer displayed. I wonder if there is a way to read the release notes later. How could I find out which updates were installed recently and what bugs are fixed?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

The results of unattended-upgrades are logged at /var/log/unattended-upgrades. Though this will not contain the changelogs; it will show you what has been upgraded. You can then use one of the methods mentioned by others to see the actual changelogs.

You might also be interested in the apticron package. It can be set up to email you about any packages on the system that need to updated. This email will include summary of changes in each package generated by apt-listchanges.

By default it will mail root. If you don't have this set to forward to a real account already, edit /etc/apticron/apticron.conf, to set the email address:

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Nice package, thank you! I'll definitely test it. I hope it runs before the actual unattended updates took place. – Takkat Nov 7 '10 at 21:27
At the moment unfortunately I am unable to get apticron running on my 10.04 desktop. Apticron complains about non-existent etc/postfix/ and refuses to send any mail. I don't know much on postfix so diving into postfix configuration is maybe too risky. – Takkat Nov 8 '10 at 22:11

You can find information on most, if not all, security updates right here:

Feeds are available for use in your RSS reader, or you can also subscribe to a mailing list. Both are linked to on that page.

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Thank you for pointing to USN. Still, these notes would not give me a quick overview on which updates were actually installed. They also miss the direct links to LP bug reports from the release notes, which I always found quite convenient. – Takkat Nov 7 '10 at 8:26
I agree -- having the bug numbers would be useful. For that, you'll need to look at the changelogs as suggested in fluteflute's answer. – Jacob Peddicord Nov 7 '10 at 16:26

This is not as easy a proccess as it could be.

  1. Identify the packages that have been upgraded

    In Ubuntu 11.04 go to the Ubuntu Software Centre, and look in the History section (from the left hand side) and then at the top filter to look only at Updates. This will show you what updates were installed when, and which versions to.

    In Ubuntu 10.10 do as above to identify which packages were upgraded and when, but it doesn't tell you the version numbers.

    In Ubuntu 10.04 you will need to use Synaptic's history function, because the Software Centre hadn't yet included this functionality.

  2. Visit the Launchpad page for a package. For instance for update-manager this is at From the links in the top right of that page you can view the complete changelog (

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There is no "History" section in Lucid 10.04 Software Center, is there? However I can always look at Synaptic's history ;-). I was already thinking that it could be not easy to get hold of the release notes once the update is completed. What I heared so far seems to confirm that they may have been gone forever. – Takkat Nov 7 '10 at 11:29
Sorry I didn't realise you're on 10.04, my mistake. I believe the "changelogs" I linked to are exactly the same as what you get in Update Manger. Just not so conveniently. – 8128 Nov 7 '10 at 16:56

From what I heard so far I feel that all put together may give a sufficient anwer to my question:

Find out which package has changed

  • List /usr/share/doc with Nautilus in "List View" mode sorted by "Date Modified" to give you a list of packages and a date when changes were made.
  • or check Software Center resp. Synaptic for a history as fluteflute suggested.
  • or check /var/log/unattended-upgrades resp. run Apticron following andrewsomething's answer
  • if only security updates are of interest read USN according to Jacob's answer

Read Changelogs of packages in question

  • Open usr/share/doc/PACKAGENAME/cangelog.gz or changelog.Debian.gz where all release notes are listed mostly the same as in Launchpad.
  • or go to Launchpad and read there (see fluteflute's answer)
  • or let apt-listchanges do the job (see andrewsomething's answer)

Which way ever you choose you will be able to see what packages were changed and you can read the changelogs. None is as easy to perform as reading during an attended update but maybe just going to /usr/share/doc is almost.

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