I run Ubuntu and Fedora on a day to day basis and usually run the package manager to check for updates nearly once a day.

When I get a kernel update I usually reboot, so that I'm running on the new kernel and I can see if there are any glitches (It's almost always fine).

If I add

apt-get update && apt-get -y upgrade


dnf check-update && dnf upgrade

to my root crontab is there anything procedurally wrong?

What if I set up crontab to do this at 4 a.m. and it installs a new kernel, then I don't reboot and it auto-installs a second new kernel. What if I don't reboot my Ubuntu box for a month and there have been 3 kernel updates and a couple of other patches to the same piece of software during this time?

Is it OK to enable automatic updating this way? I know that there's an 'unattended upgrades' utility for Ubuntu, but I'd rather learn what other system admins do and have a more 'hands on' approach to administering my PC's.

1 Answer 1


Generally, sysadmins with a mixed install base would use a cross-platform configuration management / orchestration system like Puppet, Chef, or Ansible to manage updates.

You could also set up one of those tools on a smaller scale if you like.

Or, on Fedora *, you can use DNF Automatic — see the Fedora page on configuring this. This is better than a simple cron script because it has better error handling and more options for output.

For Ubuntu, there are instructions on the community wiki for automatic updates, but I haven't used them so I can't comment more than to just provide the pointer.

* disclosure: I work on Fedora

  • Ah, I'm glad I asked before doing it my way! I will check out DNF Automatic and maybe install the Ubuntu equivalent. Not sure if it's worth bothering with config-management for two or three PC's but might do that some day. Question marked answered. Cheers!
    – bitofagoob
    Jan 2, 2017 at 1:31

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