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When I type

aptitude dist-upgrade

I get for example:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Reading extended state information      
Initializing package states... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  bc{a} linux-image-2.6.32-24-virtual linux-image-2.6.32-308-ec2 
The following packages will be upgraded:
  apt apt-transport-https apt-utils base-files bijk-node binutils cloud-init grub-common grub-pc icedtea-6-jre-cacao ifupdown landscape-client landscape-common 
  libfreetype6 libfreetype6-dev libgssapi-krb5-2 libk5crypto3 libkrb5-3 libkrb5support0 libldap-2.4-2 libmysqlclient16 libpcsclite1 libsmbclient libudev0 
  libusb-0.1-4 libwbclient0 libwww-perl lintian linux-ec2 linux-image-ec2 linux-image-virtual linux-libc-dev linux-virtual mountall mysql-client-5.1 
  mysql-client-core-5.1 mysql-common mysql-server mysql-server-5.1 mysql-server-core-5.1 openjdk-6-jre openjdk-6-jre-headless openjdk-6-jre-lib python-apt 
  python-lazr.restfulclient sudo tzdata tzdata-java udev update-manager-core upstart ureadahead w3m wget 
54 packages upgraded, 3 newly installed, 0 to remove and 2 not upgraded.
Need to get 103MB of archives. After unpacking 89.4MB will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n/?]

What I would like to know is what changed in each upgrade candidate. Is there a way I can see a list of all the changes in those packages?

I know I can do

aptitude changelog mysql-server

And I could probably grep & awk the candidates and pipe them to the changelog command, but executing that takes a long time.

Is there a better way to get a full changelog of a dist-upgrade?

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In the end, I turned to Apticron: debian-administration.org/articles/491. It shows what changed in the available upgrades since you last upgraded the packages. Helps assessing when/if you should upgrade. You can install by aptitude install apticron. –  kvz May 16 '13 at 14:07
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1 Answer 1

If you install the apt-listchanges package, you get more options. You can get apt-get and aptitude to show the changelogs of updated packages (either the full changelog or just what's new in the upgrade), and to prompt for confirmation after you've seen the changelogs. By default, after you install apt-listchanges, only important news are shown; to see changelogs, run dpkg-reconfigure apt-listchanges.

In Debian, the related package apt-listbugs fetches bug reports from bugs.debian.org. I'm not sure if it's been ported to look at launchpad.net for Ubuntu.

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Installing apt-listchanges also installs and runs some mail daemon. It seems silly to install another network service just so I can view a changelog. –  ændrük Sep 12 '10 at 16:43
    
It's a Recommends:, not a Depends:, so you can install apt-listchanges without exim4 if you sudo apt-get --no-install-recommends install apt-listchanges. –  lfaraone Sep 12 '10 at 17:36
    
FYI, apt-listbugs was removed from Ubuntu because it currently does not work in Ubuntu. –  lfaraone Sep 12 '10 at 17:38
    
@ændrük: a mail daemon is a normal part of a unix system anyway. On Ubuntu, it's configured to only deliver local mail (mainly from cron) by default — it won't listen on the network unless you've explicitly configured it to. –  Gilles Sep 12 '10 at 19:03
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I only want to see the changelog of the proposed dist-upgrade, so I can decide if it's worth the risk (tiny, but still). I've installed apt-listchanges but that seems to only work on already installed packages. You say I can "get apt-get and aptitude to show the changelogs of updated packages". That seems like the right direction but I can't figure out how. Help says: changelog - View a package's changelog –  kvz Sep 15 '10 at 12:09
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