I'm using Synaptic (and occasionally aptitude via ssh) under Debian.

When upgrading packages, there is the extremely annoying behavior of scanning changelogs, which can take a minute or two when there are lots of updates, and displaying them.

The time spent scanning the changelogs is not the critical factor, but the fact that the upgrade process blocks until I acknowledge that I have read information that I do not read, and do not want to read.

I want to tell the computer "go ahead, upgrade", go to lunch, and come back an hour later, and should be done. If some package is so broken that it is already known not to work, it should not install in the first place, I'd rather stay with the one that works (one would hope that packagers are are smart enough for this). And otherwise, I'm really not interested in whatever they have to say.

Is there a configuration switch (preferrably globally, within apt) to disable changelogs once and forall, and maybe an option that does not consider upgrade packages which break?


By default, apt-listchanges only displays the package news file, not the changelog. The news file is supposed to include only important information about things like backwards-incompatibility. For example, the news may notify you of configuration files that you need to edit, or that upstream decided to switch to a new configuration format, etc.

It sounds like your apt-listchanges got changed from the default settings. To changed, either run dpkg-reconfigure apt-listchanges as root or edit /etc/apt/listchanges.conf.

If you want unattended upgrades, I suggest you select select the "mail" method of displaying changes, and "news" only. Make sure to disable the prompt for confirmation after displaying. This way, the important information will be emailed to you, but it won't interrupt your upgrade.

You may also want to change your debconf priority to critical (dpkg-reconfigure debconf) if it isn't already.

  • Setting the debconf priority (I didn't even know this one existed!) alone makes it go silent, thank you. That's probably the best thing to have, too. "critical" is probably something I would want to know, and otherwise it's silent, which is just as it should be. – Damon Aug 29 '12 at 9:10

It seems like it can be fixed by:

aptitude remove apt-listchanges

Apparently that's an optional package (but default install on Debian) which is exactly the cause of this "extra smartness" that disrupts unattended upgrades.

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