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A new version of Debian, a new set of "quirks". Since a previous version broke security updates, I make sure to be very suspicious of this in particular...

I installed "Debian Standard" from the Live media, version 10.0, and then added task-desktop. (I would prefer to use the "Debian Gnome" Live media. I just didn't notice the difference when I downloaded it).

Debian appears to install security updates automatically in the background, using unattended-upgrades.

My experience is that installing an updated Firefox package will cause any running Firefox to stop working. In newer versions, Firefox notices this and tells you what has happened, which is much better. (It also offers a button to restart Firefox, although this has never worked for me :-).

QUESTION: On this Debian 10 Desktop, will Firefox sometimes stop working while I am using it? Or, is there something that will avoid this?

I have not seen this happen yet. However I am not the main user of this computer. So I mostly rely on other people to mention problems like this to me.

Gnome UI for updates

AFAICS the Gnome update notifications etc. are working, basically as Gnome intended. gnome-shell shows notifications, and also if you shut down it presents an option to install updates. gnome-software can be used to view updates, and presents a [Download] button which then changes to [Restart and Update]. [Restart and Update] definitely works, and I think the the shutdown checkbox does as well.

If you use this method to install a Firefox update, you cannot be using Firefox at the same time the update is installed :-). So the problem would not happen.

Some further rationale for this design can be found here: Offline OS Updates – Looking forward to GNOME 3.6

Debian "unattended-upgrades"

But in addition to the Gnome implementation, I have the following:

$ aptitude why unattended-upgrades
i   task-desktop                Recommends task-gnome-desktop | task-xfce-desktop | task-kde-desktop | task-lxde-desktop | task-cinnamon-desktop | task-mate-desktop | task-lxqt-desktop
i A task-gnome-desktop          Depends    gnome-core                                                                                                                                   
i A gnome-core                  Depends    gnome-software (>= 3.30)                                                                                                                     
i A gnome-software              Depends    software-properties-gtk                                                                                                                      
i A software-properties-gtk     Depends    python3-software-properties (= 0.96.20.2-2)                                                                                                  
i A python3-software-properties Recommends unattended-upgrades

software-properties-gtk looks like this:

Software & Updates window. Updates tab. Automatically check for updates: Daily. When there are security updates: Download and install automatically

Changing the update setting generates an authentication prompt, and then changes the configuration of unattended-upgrades. E.g.

diff --git a/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-upgrades b/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-upgrades
index 8d6d7c8..b4f7016 100644
--- a/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-upgrades
+++ b/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-upgrades
@@ -1,2 +1,3 @@
 APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1";
-APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "1";
+APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "0";
+APT::Periodic::Download-Upgradeable-Packages "1";

I looked in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades and I don't see anything that mentions "firefox", or would otherwise prevent it from install Firefox updates.

Here is an example of an unattended-upgrades run:

Sep 29 08:39:47 drystone systemd[1]: apt-daily.service: Succeeded.
Sep 29 08:39:47 drystone systemd[1]: Started Daily apt download activities.
Sep 29 08:39:47 drystone systemd[1]: Starting Daily apt upgrade and clean activities...
...
Sep 29 08:40:20 drystone systemd[1]: Reloading.
Sep 29 08:40:20 drystone systemd[1]: Stopping LSB: exim Mail Transport Agent...
Sep 29 08:40:20 drystone exim4[4394]: Stopping MTA: exim4_listener.
Sep 29 08:40:20 drystone systemd[1]: exim4.service: Succeeded.
Sep 29 08:40:20 drystone systemd[1]: Stopped LSB: exim Mail Transport Agent.
Sep 29 08:40:21 drystone systemd[1]: Reloading.
Sep 29 08:40:22 drystone systemd[1]: Starting LSB: exim Mail Transport Agent...
Sep 29 08:40:22 drystone exim4[4436]: Starting MTA: exim4.
Sep 29 08:40:22 drystone systemd[1]: Started LSB: exim Mail Transport Agent.
Sep 29 08:40:25 drystone systemd[1]: apt-daily-upgrade.service: Succeeded.
Sep 29 08:40:25 drystone systemd[1]: Started Daily apt upgrade and clean activities.
Sep 29 08:40:25 drystone systemd[1]: Startup finished in 2.626s (kernel) + 56.314s (userspace) = 58.941s.
Sep 29 08:40:36 drystone geoclue[1014]: Service not used for 60 seconds. Shutting down..
Sep 29 08:40:36 drystone systemd[1]: geoclue.service: Main process exited, code=killed, status=15/TERM
Sep 29 08:40:36 drystone systemd[1]: geoclue.service: Succeeded.

Don't ask me why apt-daily-upgrade.service is considered to be part of the "startup" process. But, even in this example the user was able to log in before the update was finished:

Sep 29 08:39:41 drystone systemd[1]: Started User Manager for UID 1005.
Sep 29 08:39:41 drystone systemd[1]: Started Session 2 of user mike.
$ tail -n 5 /var/log/unattended-upgrades/unattended-upgrades.log
2019-09-29 08:39:48,585 INFO Starting unattended upgrades script
2019-09-29 08:39:48,586 INFO Allowed origins are: origin=Debian,codename=buster,label=Debian, origin=Debian,codename=buster,label=Debian-Security
2019-09-29 08:39:57,149 INFO Packages that will be upgraded: exim4 exim4-base exim4-config exim4-daemon-light
2019-09-29 08:39:57,150 INFO Writing dpkg log to /var/log/unattended-upgrades/unattended-upgrades-dpkg.log
2019-09-29 08:40:25,004 INFO All upgrades installed

I noticed this after finding the upgrade of exim4 logged in /var/log/dpkg.log.

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