I have just updated my HTPC to 13.04 (using do-release-upgrade) and when logging in I get the "new release available" message, while there isn't as I've just upgraded and running that version.

me@mybox: ~$ssh htpc
me@htpc's password: 
Welcome to Ubuntu 13.04 (GNU/Linux 3.8.0-19-generic i686)

 * Documentation:  https://help.ubuntu.com/

New release '13.04' available.
Run 'do-release-upgrade' to upgrade to it.

So I am at 13.04, but I can upgrade to 13.04. Sounds like a plan. Or not.

I have done an apt-get update and upgrade (was nothing new) and rebooted the machine. Why is this message still here, and what needs fixing so it goes away?

For more info maybe:

htpc:~$ uname -a
Linux HTPC 3.8.0-19-generic #29-Ubuntu SMP Wed Apr 17 18:19:42 UTC 2013 i686 athlon i686 GNU/Linux

It looks like the culprit is /etc/update-motd.d/91-release-upgrade

This calls /usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/release-upgrade-motd

This file checks for the file /var/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/release-upgrade-available

If that exists, it goes in the motd. If it doesn't, it calls /usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/check-new-release.

That last command does give the right result, but the file was not removed for some reason. I removed the file and re-ran the commands. The msg-of-the-day wasn't put back.

So the final issue was the 'cache' of 'update needed' wasn't cleared.

I removed this file and it was fixed without breaking anything :)

sudo rm /var/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/release-upgrade-available

This was a 12.10 -> 13.04 upgrade. On my other box (12.04 LTS, having the same issue) I had to look in another location:

sudo rm /var/lib/update-notifier/release-upgrade-available
  • Used this method and it worked. Cannot accept until 2 days are over :)
    – Nanne
    Apr 29 '13 at 15:32
  • Thanks for this thorough investigation. To clarify: doing sudo rm /var/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/release-upgrade-available followed by sudo /usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/release-upgrade-motd fixes the stale message.
    – natevw
    Apr 30 '13 at 19:29
  • 2
    You shouldn't need (or even want to) remove that second one! It's a script that checks for new upgrades available (but only if it hasn't found one before and saved it). So only the one in /var/lib/ should be removed I think.
    – Nanne
    Apr 30 '13 at 19:37
  • Right, remove the release-upgrade-available "flag" and then re-run the release-upgrade-motd script.
    – natevw
    Apr 30 '13 at 20:05
  • 1
    Just FYI, there do appear to be bug reports in for it - here's one. Looks like there's a fix in for 13.10.
    – thegrinner
    May 16 '13 at 12:11

if you open the file /etc/update-motd.d/91-release-upgrade, inside you'll see that calls the bash /usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/release-upgrade-motd. When you open this file inside we find this code:

if [ -s "$stamp" ]; then
        # Stamp exists and is populated, so display
        cat "$stamp"
elif [ -f "$stamp" ]; then
        # Stamp exists, but is empty, see if it's expired
        now=$(date +%s)
        lastrun=$(stat -c %Y "$stamp") 2>/dev/null || lastrun=0
        expiration=$(expr $lastrun + 86400)
        if [ $now -ge $expiration ]; then
                # But is older than 1 day old, so update in the background
                /usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/check-new-release -q > "$stamp$
        # No cache at all, so update in the background
        /usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/check-new-release -q > "$stamp" &

stamp variable is populade by /var/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/release-upgrade-available file if exist or if it's empty else it check if exist a new release. in /var/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/release-upgrade-available if you open with text editor (nano, vi ...) you will find just the message that there is a new release of Ubuntu, so if you empty that or remove you force to check if there is a new release.

I hope I explained and sorry about my bad english.


try sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
you may have that message in this file /etc/motd
If you are up to date, you can run sodo rm /etc/motd <-- edit if you have custom welcome text

  • Well, it is in the motd in fact (as it is the motd), but wouldn't that be cheating? the system believes it has an update for some reason, I'd like to find out why
    – Nanne
    Apr 29 '13 at 15:21
  • if the 1st command does not find updates even after running sudo apt-get update and lsb_release -sc gives you raring you are update and the message is incorrect therefore should be removed Apr 29 '13 at 15:23
  • I agree. I just do not agree with your method of removing the motd ;)
    – Nanne
    Apr 29 '13 at 15:27
  • +1 for pointing me to motd, not complete answer though, because it would have come back if I just removed that.
    – Nanne
    Apr 29 '13 at 15:31

I did the following:

  1. cd /var/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/
  2. mv release-upgrade-available release-upgrade-available.old
  3. cd /usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/
  4. ./check-new-release
  5. Log Out/In

MOTD was back to normal.

Probably the same as above, but I don't like deleting things without fully knowing the consequences. I'll just leave that file there, and wait for the 13.10 to prompt for upgrade in October. Once I know that's working, I'll delete the .old file (or not, it's really not hurting anything).

  • the file is a flag, there's no need to do this at all.
    – Nanne
    May 21 '13 at 20:30

There is now a fix released, just run sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude full-upgrade and the message will be removed.

  • Doesn't this update your whole system? That's sounds a bit silly :) Anyway, this question was about what to do if the message doesn't go away. Good to know it probably won't be sticky again tough, but this might be better as a comment?
    – Nanne
    Jun 13 '13 at 19:05

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