Is there a way to move all user interaction that occurs during a release upgrade to the end of the upgrade process?

As it currently stands, the Ubuntu upgrade process will be interrupted whenever some user interaction is required. In particular, whenever Ubuntu tries to upgrade a package, and finds that I have modified some configuration file that belongs to that package, it will ask me what to do. This behavior is quite annoying. I cannot launch the update and go away, because sooner or later there will be a popup and the upgrade utility won't do anything until I click somewhere. (The questions make sense.1 I do not criticize the questions per se, but the way the upgrade utility goes about asking them.)

Could Ubuntu not simply perform all the package upgrades, as it is going to anyway, and then, at the very end, display one single pop-up with a list of all those questions, so that I can simply check them off one by one?

Bulk-moving all these questions to the end of the upgrade process would be so much more efficient. It would allow me to launch an upgrade in the evening, come back in the morning, and take care of all those little details in one sweep. Technically it shouldn't be a problem at all. The upgrade utility can easily keep track of which files it is going to ask me about. It could even do it on the run, adding questions to the pop-up as it goes, so that users who like the current behavior can stick with it, but the upgrade process won't get interrupted if a user doesn't answer right away.

Summing up, is there a way to move all those questions to the end? If not, is there a reason for this behavior? Generally, would bulk-moving all those questions to the end of the installation process be a good idea? Should I make a feature request?

Should there not be such a feature, and if the question stirs enough interest, I will definitely make a feature request, and we'll see what the devs have to say. :)

1 On the one hand, if I'm running a server with a lot of customized configuration files, I don't want an upgrade to remove them or mess them up. On the other hand, configuration file formats may change, and so with package updates my customized configuration files may need manual massaging.


I believe you would be suited by using the non-interactive upgrade features.

For stable releases:

do-release-upgrade -f DistUpgradeViewNonInteractive

For development releases:

do-release-upgrade -d -f DistUpgradeViewNonInteractive

It will go through the process without additional questions asked, which sounds like what you are looking for.

See this question for additional information: https://askubuntu.com/a/250882/173967

  • This sounds close to what I want, but I'm unsure. As I said I think the questions are sensible; but I want to be take care of them all at the end, i.e. the upgrade should not be interrupted because of them. If this DistUpgradeViewNonInteractive simply picks some default answer for all questions, it sounds like a dangerous thing to do, akin to using the -y option for apt-get. I am not interested in sacrificing stability for comfort. I want both :D I want to be asked all the questions, but I don't want having to sit in front of my PC for hours waiting to click 'OK' every 10 minutes or so. Mar 5 '14 at 18:35
  • Unfortunately I am having trouble finding any authoritative documentation on that DistUpgradeViewNonInteractive frontend. man do-release-upgrade is extremely sparse and doesn't even directly mention it. The question you linked to cites some external, unofficial blog as a source (and the blog post is somewhat old). I was unable to google anything official about this frontend. Do you have any authoritative links, or know more from experience? Mar 5 '14 at 18:38

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