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I access an ubuntu 10.04LTS server that is administered by someone else, I have a feeling that it hasn't been getting updates/upgrades recently.

Is there a way to check on the command line when updates were last taken, without sudo privileges?

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Duplicate of this?… – fossfreedom Mar 3 '14 at 20:24
@fossfreedom ...not exactly, he is asking unprivileged and CLI solutions. – Rmano Mar 3 '14 at 20:26
Several answers already there that doesnt require privilege and are also CLI based. – fossfreedom Mar 3 '14 at 20:28
@fossfreedom Yep, you're right. Missed some of them. – Rmano Mar 3 '14 at 20:33
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can use stat -c %y /var/lib/apt/periodic/update-success-stamp to find last update date.

It will give the date of last apt-get update.

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You can check the version of some critical package:

% dpkg -l linux-generic

| Status=Not/Inst/Conf-files/Unpacked/halF-conf/Half-inst/trig-aWait/Trig-pend
|/ Err?=(none)/Reinst-required (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
||/ Name           Version      Architecture Description
ii  linux-generic i386         Complete Generic Linux kernel and

and compare with up-to-date system (the example is from 13.10).

The file /var/log/apt/history.log is normally readable by all, so it can help (but its content is log-rotated, so if the last update is old, it may well be empty; you can search the various /var/log/apt/history.log.*.gz for hints).

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