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I have automatic-upgrades installed and configured, but it never seems to run, because there are always security updates waiting to be installed when I check.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AutomaticSecurityUpdates seems to imply that /etc/cron.daily/apt is the mechanism by which automatic-upgrades works. However, /etc/cron.daily/apt is missing.

dpkg -S indicates that apt owns that file.

Am I correct that a missing /etc/cron.daily/apt would prevent unattended-upgrades from running? If so, how would I create it?

(I'm not the only one with this problem, as evidenced by this Ubuntu Forums post, which unfortunately doesn't have a solution.)

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3 Answers 3

As far as I can tell, the file is missing from the .deb - a packaging error. I have not yet worked out how to get this raised to the attention of the packagers

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2  
Could you please give it a bit more explanation about why you think this. –  lordqwerty Mar 20 '13 at 9:10
    
It is indeed missing. Take a look at pkgs.org/ubuntu-12.04/ubuntu-main-i386/… to see what files are in the .deb file. /etc/cron.daily/apt is not there. –  Geoff Mar 25 at 21:33

Same problem here on 10.04 Server. Installed unattended-upgrades, but /etc/cron.daily/apt istn't there.

I copied now /etc/cron.daily/apt from an older installation to the new one:

#!/bin/sh
#set -e
#
# This file understands the following apt configuration variables:
# Values here are the default.
# Create /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/02periodic file to set your preference.
#
#  Dir "/";
#  - RootDir for all configuration files
#
#  Dir::Cache "var/apt/cache/";
#  - Set apt package cache directory
#
#  Dir::Cache::Archive "archives/";
#  - Set package archive directory
#
#  APT::Periodic::Enable "1";
#  - Enable the update/upgrade script (0=disable)
#
#  APT::Periodic::BackupArchiveInterval "0";
#  - Backup after n-days if archive contents changed.(0=disable)
#
#  APT::Periodic::BackupLevel "3";
#  - Backup level.(0=disable), 1 is invalid.
#
#  Dir::Cache::Backup "backup/";
#  - Set periodic package backup directory
#
#  APT::Archives::MaxAge "0"; (old, deprecated)
#  APT::Periodic::MaxAge "0"; (new)
#  - Set maximum allowed age of a cache package file. If a cache 
#    package file is older it is deleted (0=disable)
#
#  APT::Archives::MinAge "2"; (old, deprecated)
#  APT::Periodic::MinAge "2"; (new)
#  - Set minimum age of a package file. If a file is younger it
#    will not be deleted (0=disable). Usefull to prevent races 
#    and to keep backups of the packages for emergency.
#
#  APT::Archives::MaxSize "0"; (old, deprecated)
#  APT::Periodic::MaxSize "0"; (new)
#  - Set maximum size of the cache in MB (0=disable). If the cache
#    is bigger, cached package files are deleted until the size
#    requirement is met (the biggest packages will be deleted 
#    first).
#
#  APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "0";
#  - Do "apt-get update" automatically every n-days (0=disable)
#    
#  APT::Periodic::Download-Upgradeable-Packages "0";
#  - Do "apt-get upgrade --download-only" every n-days (0=disable)
#
#  APT::Periodic::Download-Upgradeable-Packages-Debdelta "1";
#  - Use debdelta-upgrade to download updates if available (0=disable)
#
#  APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "0";
#  - Run the "unattended-upgrade" security upgrade script 
#    every n-days (0=disabled)
#    Requires the package "unattended-upgrades" and will write
#    a log in /var/log/unattended-upgrades
# 
#  APT::Periodic::AutocleanInterval "0";
#  - Do "apt-get autoclean" every n-days (0=disable)
#
#  APT::Periodic::Verbose "0";
#  - Send report mail to root
#      0:  no report             (or null string)
#      1:  progress report       (actually any string)
#      2:  + command outputs     (remove -qq, remove 2>/dev/null, add -d)
#      3:  + trace on            

check_stamp()
{
    stamp="$1"
    interval="$2"

    if [ $interval -eq 0 ]; then
    debug_echo "check_stamp: interval=0"
    # treat as no time has passed
        return 1
    fi

    if [ ! -f $stamp ]; then
    debug_echo "check_stamp: missing time stamp file: $stamp."
    # treat as enough time has passed
        return 0
    fi

    # compare midnight today to midnight the day the stamp was updated
    stamp_file="$stamp"
    stamp=$(date --date=$(date -r $stamp_file --iso-8601) +%s 2>/dev/null)
    if [ "$?" != "0" ]; then
        # Due to some timezones returning 'invalid date' for midnight on
        # certain dates (eg America/Sao_Paulo), if date returns with error
        # remove the stamp file and return 0. See coreutils bug:
        # http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-coreutils/2007-09/msg00176.html
        rm -f "$stamp_file"
        return 0
    fi

    now=$(date --date=$(date --iso-8601) +%s 2>/dev/null)
    if [ "$?" != "0" ]; then
        # As above, due to some timezones returning 'invalid date' for midnight
        # on certain dates (eg America/Sao_Paulo), if date returns with error
        # return 0.
        return 0
    fi

    delta=$(($now-$stamp))

    # intervall is in days, convert to sec.
    interval=$(($interval*60*60*24))
    debug_echo "check_stamp: interval=$interval, now=$now, stamp=$stamp, delta=$delta (sec)"

    # remove timestamps a day (or more) in the future and force re-check
    if [ $stamp -gt $(($now+86400)) ]; then
         echo "WARNING: file $stamp_file has a timestamp in the future: $stamp"
         rm -f "$stamp_file"
         return 0
    fi

    if [ $delta -ge $interval ]; then
        return 0
    fi

    return 1
}

update_stamp()
{
    stamp="$1"
    touch $stamp
}

# we check here if autoclean was enough sizewise
check_size_constraints()
{
    MaxAge=0
    eval $(apt-config shell MaxAge APT::Archives::MaxAge)
    eval $(apt-config shell MaxAge APT::Periodic::MaxAge)

    MinAge=2
    eval $(apt-config shell MinAge APT::Archives::MinAge)
    eval $(apt-config shell MinAge APT::Periodic::MinAge)

    MaxSize=0
    eval $(apt-config shell MaxSize APT::Archives::MaxSize)
    eval $(apt-config shell MaxSize APT::Periodic::MaxSize)

    CacheDir="var/cache/apt/"
    eval $(apt-config shell CacheDir Dir::Cache)
    CacheDir=${CacheDir%/}

    CacheArchive="archives/"
    eval $(apt-config shell CacheArchive Dir::Cache::archives)
    CacheArchive=${CacheArchive%/}

    # sanity check
    if [ -z "$CacheDir" -o -z "$CacheArchive" ]; then
    echo "empty Dir::Cache or Dir::Cache::archives, exiting"
    exit
    fi

    Cache="${Dir%/}/${CacheDir%/}/${CacheArchive%/}/"

    # check age
    if [ ! $MaxAge -eq 0 ] && [ ! $MinAge -eq 0 ]; then
    debug_echo "aged: ctime <$MaxAge and mtime <$MaxAge and ctime>$MinAge and mtime>$MinAge"
    find $Cache -name "*.deb"  \( -mtime +$MaxAge -and -ctime +$MaxAge \) -and -not \( -mtime -$MinAge -or -ctime -$MinAge \) -print0 | xargs -r -0 rm -f
    elif [ ! $MaxAge -eq 0 ]; then
    debug_echo "aged: ctime <$MaxAge and mtime <$MaxAge only"
    find $Cache -name "*.deb"  -ctime +$MaxAge -and -mtime +$MaxAge -print0 | xargs -r -0 rm -f
    else
    debug_echo "skip aging since MaxAge is 0"
    fi

    # check size
    if [ ! $MaxSize -eq 0 ]; then
    # maxSize is in MB
    MaxSize=$(($MaxSize*1024))

    #get current time
    now=$(date --date=$(date --iso-8601) +%s)
    MinAge=$(($MinAge*24*60*60))

    # reverse-sort by mtime
    for file in $(ls -rt $Cache/*.deb 2>/dev/null); do 
        du=$(du -s $Cache)
        size=${du%%/*}
        # check if the cache is small enough
        if [ $size -lt $MaxSize ]; then
        debug_echo "end remove by archive size:  size=$size < $MaxSize"
        break
        fi

        # check for MinAge of the file
        if [ $MinAge -ne 0 ]; then 
        # check both ctime and mtime 
        mtime=$(stat -c %Y $file)
        ctime=$(stat -c %Z $file)
        if [ $mtime -gt $ctime ]; then
            delta=$(($now-$mtime))
        else
            delta=$(($now-$ctime))
        fi
        if [ $delta -le $MinAge ]; then
            debug_echo "skip remove by archive size:  $file, delta=$delta < $MinAgeSec"
            break
        else
            # delete oldest file
            debug_echo "remove by archive size: $file, delta=$delta >= $MinAgeSec (sec), size=$size >= $MaxSize"
            rm -f $file
        fi
        fi
    done
    fi
}

# deal with the Apt::Periodic::BackupArchiveInterval
do_cache_backup()
{
    BackupArchiveInterval="$1"
    if [ $BackupArchiveInterval -eq 0 ]; then
    return
    fi

    # Set default values and normalize
    Dir="/"
    eval $(apt-config shell Dir Dir)
    Dir=${Dir%/}

    CacheDir="var/cache/apt/"
    eval $(apt-config shell CacheDir Dir::Cache)
    CacheDir=${CacheDir%/}
    if [ -z "$CacheDir" ]; then
    debug_echo "practically empty Dir::Cache, exiting"
    return 0
    fi

    CacheArchive="archives/"
    eval $(apt-config shell CacheArchive Dir::Cache::Archives)
    CacheArchive=${CacheArchive%/}
    if [ -z "$CacheArchive" ]; then
    debug_echo "practically empty Dir::Cache::archives, exiting"
    return 0
    fi

    BackupLevel=3
    eval $(apt-config shell BackupLevel APT::Periodic::BackupLevel)
    if [ $BackupLevel -le 1 ]; then 
    BackupLevel=2 ; 
    fi

    CacheBackup="backup/"
    eval $(apt-config shell CacheBackup Dir::Cache::Backup)
    CacheBackup=${CacheBackup%/}
    if [ -z "$CacheBackup" ]; then
    echo "practically empty Dir::Cache::Backup, exiting" 1>&2
    return
    fi

    Cache="${Dir}/${CacheDir}/${CacheArchive}/"
    Back="${Dir}/${CacheDir}/${CacheBackup}/"
    BackX="${Back}${CacheArchive}/"
    for x in $(seq 0 1 $((${BackupLevel}-1))); do 
    eval "Back${x}=${Back}${x}/"
    done

    # backup after n-days if archive contents changed.
    # (This uses hardlink to save disk space)
    BACKUP_ARCHIVE_STAMP=/var/lib/apt/periodic/backup-archive-stamp
    if check_stamp $BACKUP_ARCHIVE_STAMP $BackupArchiveInterval; then
    if [ $({(cd $Cache 2>/dev/null; find . -name "*.deb"); (cd $Back0 2>/dev/null;find . -name "*.deb") ;}| sort|uniq -u|wc -l) -ne 0 ]; then
        mkdir -p $Back
        rm -rf $Back$((${BackupLevel}-1))
        for y in $(seq $((${BackupLevel}-1)) -1 1); do 
        eval BackY=${Back}$y
        eval BackZ=${Back}$(($y-1))
        if [ -e $BackZ ]; then 
            mv -f $BackZ $BackY ; 
        fi
        done
        cp -la $Cache $Back ; mv -f $BackX $Back0
        update_stamp $BACKUP_ARCHIVE_STAMP
        debug_echo "backup with hardlinks. (success)"
    else
        debug_echo "skip backup since same content."
    fi
    else
    debug_echo "skip backup since too new."
    fi
}

# sleep for a random interval of time (default 30min)
# (some code taken from cron-apt, thanks)
random_sleep()
{
    RandomSleep=1800
    eval $(apt-config shell RandomSleep APT::Periodic::RandomSleep)
    if [ $RandomSleep -eq 0 ]; then
    return
    fi
    if [ -z "$RANDOM" ] ; then
        # A fix for shells that do not have this bash feature.
    RANDOM=$(dd if=/dev/urandom count=1 2> /dev/null | cksum | cut -c"1-5")
    fi
    TIME=$(($RANDOM % $RandomSleep))
    debug_echo "sleeping for $TIME seconds"
    sleep $TIME
}


debug_echo()
{
    # Display message if $VERBOSE >= 1
    if [ "$VERBOSE" -ge 1 ]; then
    echo $1 1>&2
    fi
}

# ------------------------ main ----------------------------

# Backup the 7 last versions of APT's extended_states file
# shameless copy from dpkg cron
if cd /var/backups ; then
    if ! cmp -s apt.extended_states.0 /var/lib/apt/extended_states; then
    cp -p /var/lib/apt/extended_states apt.extended_states
    savelog -c 7 apt.extended_states >/dev/null
    fi
fi

# check apt-config exstance
if ! which apt-config >/dev/null ; then
    exit 0
fi

# check if the user really wants to do something
AutoAptEnable=1  # default is yes
eval $(apt-config shell AutoAptEnable APT::Periodic::Enable)

if [ $AutoAptEnable -eq 0 ]; then
    exit 0
fi

# Set VERBOSE mode from  apt-config (or inherit from environment)
VERBOSE=0
eval $(apt-config shell VERBOSE APT::Periodic::Verbose)
debug_echo "verbose level $VERBOSE"
if [ "$VERBOSE" -le 2 ]; then
    # quiet for 0,1,2
    XSTDOUT=">/dev/null"
    XSTDERR="2>/dev/null"
    XAPTOPT="-qq"
    XUUPOPT=""
else
    XSTDOUT=""
    XSTDERR=""
    XAPTOPT=""
    XUUPOPT="-d"
fi
if [ "$VERBOSE" -ge 3 ]; then
    # trace output
    set -x
fi

# laptop check, on_ac_power returns:
#       0 (true)    System is on main power
#       1 (false)   System is not on main power
#       255 (false) Power status could not be determined
# Desktop systems always return 255 it seems
if which on_ac_power >/dev/null; then
    on_ac_power
    POWER=$?
    if [ $POWER -eq 1 ]; then
    debug_echo "exit: system NOT on main power"
    exit 0
    elif [ $POWER -ne 0 ]; then
    debug_echo "power status ($POWER) undetermined, continuing"
    fi
    debug_echo "system is on main power."
fi

# check if we can lock the cache and if the cache is clean
if which apt-get >/dev/null && ! eval apt-get check -f $XAPTOPT $XSTDERR ; then
    debug_echo "error encountered in cron job with \"apt-get check\"."
    exit 0
fi

# Global current time in seconds since 1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
now=$(date +%s)

# Support old Archive for compatibility.
# Document only Periodic for all controling parameters of this script.

UpdateInterval=0
eval $(apt-config shell UpdateInterval APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists)

DownloadUpgradeableInterval=0
eval $(apt-config shell DownloadUpgradeableInterval APT::Periodic::Download-Upgradeable-Packages)

UnattendedUpgradeInterval=0
eval $(apt-config shell UnattendedUpgradeInterval APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade)

AutocleanInterval=0
eval $(apt-config shell AutocleanInterval APT::Periodic::AutocleanInterval)

BackupArchiveInterval=0
eval $(apt-config shell BackupArchiveInterval APT::Periodic::BackupArchiveInterval)

Debdelta=1
eval $(apt-config shell Debdelta APT::Periodic::Download-Upgradeable-Packages-Debdelta)

# check if we actually have to do anything that requires locking the cache
if [ $UpdateInterval -eq 0 ] &&
   [ $DownloadUpgradeableInterval -eq 0 ] &&
   [ $UnattendedUpgradeInterval -eq 0 ] &&
   [ $BackupArchiveInterval -eq 0 ] &&
   [ $AutocleanInterval -eq 0 ]; then

    # check cache size
    check_size_constraints

    exit 0
fi

# deal with BackupArchiveInterval
do_cache_backup $BackupArchiveInterval

# sleep random amount of time to avoid hitting the 
# mirrors at the same time
random_sleep

# include default system language so that "apt-get update" will
# fetch the right translated package descriptions
if [ -r /etc/default/locale ]; then
    . /etc/default/locale
    export LANG LANGUAGE LC_MESSAGES LC_ALL
fi

# update package lists
UPDATED=0
UPDATE_STAMP=/var/lib/apt/periodic/update-stamp
if check_stamp $UPDATE_STAMP $UpdateInterval; then
    # check for a new archive signing key (against the master keyring)
    if eval apt-key net-update $XSTDERR; then
       debug_echo "apt-key net-update (success)"
    else
       debug_echo "apt-key net-update (failure)"
    fi
    # run apt-get update
    if eval apt-get $XAPTOPT -y update $XSTDERR; then
    debug_echo "download updated metadata (success)."
    if which dbus-send >/dev/null && pidof dbus-daemon >/dev/null; then
        if dbus-send --system / app.apt.dbus.updated boolean:true ; then
        debug_echo "send dbus signal (success)"
        else
        debug_echo "send dbus signal (error)"
        fi
    else
        debug_echo "dbus signal not send (command not available)"
    fi
    update_stamp $UPDATE_STAMP
    UPDATED=1
        # now run apt-xapian-index if it is installed to ensure the index
        # is up-to-date
        if [ -x /usr/sbin/update-apt-xapian-index ]; then
            nice ionice -c3 update-apt-xapian-index -q
        fi
    else
    debug_echo "download updated metadata (error)"
    fi
else
    debug_echo "download updated metadata (not run)."
fi

# download all upgradeable packages (if it is requested)
DOWNLOAD_UPGRADEABLE_STAMP=/var/lib/apt/periodic/download-upgradeable-stamp
if [ $UPDATED -eq 1 ] && check_stamp $DOWNLOAD_UPGRADEABLE_STAMP $DownloadUpgradeableInterval; then
    if [ $Debdelta -eq 1 ]; then
        debdelta-upgrade >/dev/null 2>&1 || true
    fi
    if  eval apt-get $XAPTOPT -y -d dist-upgrade $XSTDERR; then
    update_stamp $DOWNLOAD_UPGRADEABLE_STAMP
    debug_echo "download upgradable (success)"
    else
    debug_echo "download upgradable (error)"
    fi
else
    debug_echo "download upgradable (not run)"
fi

# auto upgrade all upgradeable packages
UPGRADE_STAMP=/var/lib/apt/periodic/upgrade-stamp
if [ $UPDATED -eq 1 ] && which unattended-upgrade >/dev/null && check_stamp $UPGRADE_STAMP $UnattendedUpgradeInterval; then
    if unattended-upgrade $XUUPOPT; then
    update_stamp $UPGRADE_STAMP
    debug_echo "unattended-upgrade (success)"
    else
    debug_echo "unattended-upgrade (error)"
    fi
else
    debug_echo "unattended-upgrade (not run)"
fi

# autoclean package archive
AUTOCLEAN_STAMP=/var/lib/apt/periodic/autoclean-stamp
if check_stamp $AUTOCLEAN_STAMP $AutocleanInterval; then
    if  eval apt-get $XAPTOPT -y autoclean $XSTDERR; then
    debug_echo "autoclean (success)."
    update_stamp $AUTOCLEAN_STAMP
    else
    debug_echo "autoclean (error)"
    fi
else
    debug_echo "autoclean (not run)"
fi

# check cache size 
check_size_constraints

#
#     vim: set sts=4 ai :
#

Also make sure that the file /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/10periodic exists with the following content:

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1";
APT::Periodic::Download-Upgradeable-Packages "1";
APT::Periodic::AutocleanInterval "7";
APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "1";

Additional information: https://help.ubuntu.com/12.04/serverguide/automatic-updates.html

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Try

apt-get install cron-apt

for this file

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