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I have to admit, I really really hate apt-listchanges. If I'm going to do a huge dist-upgrade, I want to just leave the computer there for a few hours. The asker of this serverfault question had a similar goal in mind, bu after implementing all of the suggestions in that post, I was still hit by apt-listchanges.

Why is it so difficult to achieve non-interactivity with apt, an otherwise excellent program, given that the Unix philosophy aspires to it?

I am hoping the changes I made to /etc/apt/listchanges.conf will help, but I want suggestions as to how to reliably do upgrades without any interaction whatsoever.


This is the command I used was

DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive \
apt-get \
-o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confnew" \
--force-yes \
-fuy \

I also added the following lines to /etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg

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If you don't like apt-listchanges, why do you install it? – Gilles Sep 12 '12 at 23:28
Aren't removing it with apt-get purge apt-listchanges helping you ? – warl0ck Sep 12 '12 at 23:55
Warl0ck's right. Uninstall it. I use apt-get non-interacctively all the time. – bahamat Sep 13 '12 at 0:15
it came pre-installed with my latest debian... d'oh! – ixtmixilix Sep 13 '12 at 20:43
Yeah I really hate that this seems to be default. – UpTheCreek Aug 11 '15 at 9:14
up vote 7 down vote accepted

As you found and set in your config, apt-listchanges should not prompt if you set the frontend to none. You can also set the environment variable APT_LISTCHANGES_FRONTEND=none to achieve the same thing.

It sounds like what you really want to do is use the unattended-upgrades package. It handles everything for you: disabling apt-listchanges, setting the frontend to noninteractive, checking for and avoiding conffile prompts, etc. If nothing else, the contents of the Python script /usr/bin/unattended-upgrades should answer your questions about how it does its magic.

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How does it avoid conffile prompts? Does it just ignore them by keeping your config or replacing it? – Nathan Adams Dec 8 '14 at 0:14
If your apt config contains --force-confold or --force-confnew in DPkg::Options, they behave as expected. Otherwise, a package that would trigger a conffile prompt is not upgraded, and an email is sent (if email is configured in unattended-upgrades). If email is not available, it's logged under /var/log/unattended-upgrades. – Jim Paris Dec 8 '14 at 21:38

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