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update-notifier (was: update-notifier-kde, freespacenotifier: where's the UI?)

On Thursday 03 June 2010, Valerio Passini wrote:

> The update-notifier is nice, but I would like to know how it
> retrieves the information it displays (presumably, from apt). If
> this is the case, is there a demon running in background or apt is
> called by update- notifier? Today in VT (ctrl+alt+F1) there was a
> message asking to reboot, Is this message related in anyway to
> update-notifier? These are questions that can be interesting to be
> answered to in the README/man page you are preparing.
> Thank you

I was wondering about that, too, and while trying to figure it out, 
discovered that I hadn't noticed considerable earlier changes to apt. 

Please note that my following remarks refer only to sid/unstable!

First a bit about dependencies: kde-standard depends on update-notifier-
kde which in turn depends on update-notifier-common.

Apt itself has, apparently for quite some time (years!), had the options 
that trigger periodic updates of the list of available packages. 
However, judging only from my own experience and the fact that I had 
never heard of them, these options have not been widely used. So far, 
that is. Because now update-notifier-common installs


which contains

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1";

thereby enabling automated daily updates of the package list. More 
details can be found in


I have to admit that I was taken slightly aback by these changes and I'm 
not yet sure whether there is anything I need to do in order to make 
things work the way I want. As far as I can tell, documentation is non-
existent or just not where I looked. Well, it's called "unstable" for a 
reason, after all.


Michael Schuerig

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