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A few moments ago I wanted to shut down my laptop and got the standard question whether I would like to install updates in the process. I checked the box and was very surprised to see my ThinkPad reboot into a black screen only saying "Please wait while we install a system update" and a rotating /.

After a while, my laptop shutdown and I could reboot normally. But what happened and what was this message about?

EDIT:
Before running into this issue, I loaded a firmware update via Gnome Software and have not previously shutdown the computer. Was the "weird" update process result of this firmware update?

  • I saw this today too, but under different conditions. I shutdown my laptop yesterday; no updates. This came up when trying to boot the system, but before the prompt to unlock the encrypted LVM ever showed up. Since the encrypted LVM needs to be unlock before the OS can boot, I'm not sure how the OS could be the cause or the target of the update. I didn't apply any firmware updates either. (1/2) – code_dredd Aug 14 '18 at 16:27
  • Based on /var/log/apt/history.log, these are the packages I updated on 8/10: gir1.2-gmenu-3.0, zfs-zed, zfsutils-linux, libzfs2linux, libgnome-menu-3-0, libzpool2linux, libnvpair1linux, libuutil1linux, gnome-menus, python3-distupgrade, ubuntu-release-upgrader-core, ubuntu-release-upgrader-gtk and on 8/13: libarchive13, gdm3, gir1.2-gdm-1.0, libgdm1 respectively. There were no updates in-between those dates. (2/2) – code_dredd Aug 14 '18 at 16:27
  • In my case, the update also took place before I unlocked my encrypted hard drive. If I am not mistaken that would suggest the firmware update causing it. Do you have automatic updates enabled in Gnome Software? And is your machine one of these? fwupd.org/lvfs/devicelist – apitsch Aug 14 '18 at 20:41
  • I have automatic security updates enabled, but from what I could see, nothing stood out to me as a firmware update. I know I didn't install one explicitly. My laptop is in the list, a Lenovo Thinkpad T570. It shows that a proprietary update was uploaded on 8/6/2018. – code_dredd Aug 14 '18 at 20:46
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    After reading this blogpost I am more and more inclined to think that this whole issue was related to a firmware update because I did indeed get "scary-sounding beeps" and I just cannot come up with an alternative explanation. Of course, I am still very curious to know what this was if someone knows it better - especially if it is security related. – apitsch Aug 15 '18 at 19:27
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You're describing a Thinkpad firmware update. To confirm this, run fwupdmgr get-history, check the firmware date, and search for the checksum (SHA1 hash) via your favorite search engine. You should see your update package within the Linux Vendor Firmware Service list. The blog post you found was on the right track.

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