I've recently built a server using 14.04.1 LTS, I wanted a very quick and simple way for it to let me know if, for example, it needed a system restart after installing upgrades. I decided e-mail was the best option.

I've installed, configured and tested ssmtp to use one of my usual e-mail services.

Also, I've configured unattended-upgrade to e-mail me after any upgrades, at least initially.

Can I get the unattended-upgrade e-mail to come from a specific address? I know I can do that using just mail or ssmtp directly but if I don't specify a "from" address then it defaults to my mail service's default account and I want it to be clear it came from this particular machine. Where can I specify a "from" address for the mail command that unattended-upgrade uses?


Just specify an alias in your mail.rc file:

alias root root<ParticularMachine@YourDomain.com>

@Fabby - Thank you for your suggestion, I couldn't find a mail.rc file anywhere but you pointed me in the right direction. (I tried to vote up your answer but I'm apparently too much of a noob!)

Just to check, I did a sendmail -V which confirmed that I was using sSMTP.

Re-reading the docs on sSMTP pointed me at setting an alias as suggested but in either /etc/aliases or /etc/ssmtp/revaliases.

/etc/aliases already contained an entry for root - and changing it seems to have no visible effect on sent e-mail headers or contents. (Is it for incoming mail I'm thinking...?)

However, adding:


to /etc/ssmtp/revaliases did result in mail generating a message with:

From: root <MyName@MyDomain.com> 

which isn't exactly what I wanted but is good enough.

Ironically, when I logged into the server to try this, it informed me that a system restart was required but I have no e-mail to alert me to that so I must still not have that set up correctly... back to square one!

  • Hmm, did this really solve your problem? It seems from your last sentence that it didn't really.. – Seth Dec 2 '14 at 0:09
  • Thank you Seth for amending the formatting of my posts to be more forum-appropriate - noted for future posts. Lol, my last sentence was really just me nit-picking. My aim was simply to identify this machine as the source of the e-mail when it reached my (external) inbox - this it now does but Outlook currently simply displays this in my message list as being from just "root" - but opening or previewing the e-mail shows me the machine name. My intention was to write a rule to highlight such messages and I believe I can do that now. – jarsudsco Dec 2 '14 at 1:48

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