Ferry Boender

Programmer, DevOpper, Open Source enthusiast.


Disable “New release available” emails on Ubuntu

Monday, August 15th, 2016

We have our Ubuntu machines set up to mail us the output of cron jobs like so:

$ cat /etc/crontab 

# m h dom mon dow user    command

This is encrible useful, since cronjobs should never output anything unless something is wrong.

Unfortunately, this means we also get emails like this:

New release '16.04.1 LTS' available.
Run 'do-release-upgrade' to upgrade to it.

You can fairly easily disable these by modifying the corresponding cronjob /etc/cron.weekly/update-notifier-common:

 set -e
 [ -x /usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/release-upgrade-motd ] || exit 0
 # Check to see whether there is a new version of Ubuntu available
+/usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/release-upgrade-motd > /dev/null

Now you’ll no longer receive these emails. It’s also possible to remove the cronjob entirely, but then an upgrade is likely to put it back, and I have no idea if the cronjob has any other side effects besides emailing.

Update: Raf Czlonka emailed me with the following addendum:

I wanted to let you know that there’s still one place which makes you see the annoying prompt:


an easier way to get rid if the “issue” is simply to run this:

# sed -i 's/^Prompt.*/Prompt=never/' /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades

Thanks Raf! 

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