Do updates work differently in Ubuntu 17.10?

(I believe this is a design question, not a support question, because it is about changes introduced in certain Ubuntu releases which seem to produce suboptimal outcomes, please change the title if you can think of a better one)

How are (Deb) updates working in Ubuntu 17.10 (and, presumably, 18.04, unless there’s been patches for this)? I’m confused because we have both the Software Updater and the Updates tab in the Software application, how do those two interact? It seems confusing to me because both applications are installed by default so where should average Joe user update from? If Software Updater can update everything then do we need to patch the Software application so that the Updates tab doesn’t exist there? Admittedly this issue has been existent since the switch from the Software Center to GNOME/Ubuntu Software, but the below has been introduced since the switch from Unity to GNOME Shell:

I’ve noticed the Shut Down & Install Updates checkbox when shutting down sometimes, why is that there? Before, Ubuntu seemed to be able to install updates without having to shutdown, then semi-restart to install the updates whilst on Plymouth, then shutdown again, why does it have to do the latter now (btw the latter makes the GRUB menu come up on next boot when it probably shouldn’t…)?

I had the same thought. Evenmore I am a bit puzzled because several times both ways showed that ma system was up-to-date. But the command sudo -- sh -c 'apt-get update; apt-get upgrade -y; apt-get dist-upgrade -y; apt-get autoremove -y; apt-get autoclean -y' shows and carries out several updates. Since I am new to Linux I cannot say if this is intended behaviour.

If you had your system open for long enough, and have the settings in the Software & Updates app under the Updates tab saying ‘Daily’ for ‘Automatically check for updates’ and ‘Download and install automatically’ for ‘When there are security updates’ and ‘Display immediately’ for ‘When there are other updates’, then that should install most updates automatically. You may not have your Software & Updates app on those settings. apt-get update just checks for updates, so you will always see output there if your Internet connection is working and you have any repositories enabled (which you will by default), apt-get dist-upgrade may upgrade more than the Software Updater/Software does, so you may see output there anyway (be careful with that one, check the output carefully, and don’t use -y, because that may remove programs that you don’t want removed (can happen, in particular, if you have PPAs enabled)!), apt-get autoremove removes old packages that Software Updater/Software may not, so you may see output there, apt-get autoclean also removes cruft that Software Updater/Software may not, so you may also see output there.

Ultimately, they are both frontends to aptdaemon, thence to apt. You can use either or both…though both at once might be confusing to the user (not to apt).

Debian and Ubuntu have long had multiple paths to interact with apt.

Apt has long had an “install before shutdown” setting. It’s among the rarely-discussed settings. I can think of several reasons why you might be seeing the option - settings, workflow, etc.

Intended behavior. Apt checks for updates only once daily, at a random time. Updates are added to the Ubuntu repos at all hours of the day and night (not once a day), especially early in a release cycle.

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True but not usually by default? I.e. it seems to me to be a rather messy user experience to have both methods of updating there by default.

Well I’m merely using the default Ubuntu 17.10 GNOME session (upgraded from Ubuntu 17.04) and this comes up sometimes when I press shutdown from the top-right menu. I’m just confused as to why this is default because Ubuntu hasn’t needed it before and it still presumably had no problem updating without that option?

People say that. Often when you dig in, they did change a setting here or there.
Workflow: I suspend instead of shutting down. You shut down instead of suspend. That’s a big difference, and both are ‘default’.

Also, recall that if you are using Software & Updates, the only option for unattended upgrades is -Security upgrades. -Updates and -Backports and PPAs and non-Ubuntu repos won’t upgrade automatically unless you go into the (text) apt setting in /etc/apt. So it’s perfectly normal for -Security upgrades to install automatically, but for a long list of other upgrades to not install automatically.

In the past, you received no warning about the uninstalled backlog. Now you do.
This is an occasional question in the help forums,
/var/log/apt and /var/log/unattended-upgrades are very helpful to figure out what is actually going on.

I have noticed on 3 machines running ubuntu, lately after not changing any of the settings, I have for updates check daily, I have under security updates inform me, however when I go to the software updater, 1 second after telling me there are updates, it goes immeditly to installing these updates, this makes me wonder if for some reason if ubuntu now is downloading the updates in the background and the only step(manual) that is needed is to simply install said updates. I cant seem to find an answer to this question, I have also noticed several times on some machines, if I try to update with the software update, or even sudo apt-get upgrade command in terminal, that it is waiting on the package “packagekitd” to stop, I have done some research and found that this is a suite of programs that automatically check and download updates for several different applications, im wondering if this is something new in ubuntu 17.10 or one of the recent updates which is causing things to automatically download updates so that they can be installed later. I personally don’t like this, as if this was going on, I would rather be notified that this is happening, as depending on the speed of the internet connection that you have, it could slow down your internet speed when trying to do other things, and if this is the case and this program package thing is doing the automatically downloading applications, I would rather it be disabled.

I personally enjoy automatic background updates (it’s a great feature of Chromium OS and snappy - extremely low maintenance) but yes it’s a problem for those with little bandwidth/slow Internet. Have you checked your settings in Software & Updates under the Updates tab? You can set ‘When there are security updates’ to ‘Display immediately’ (obviously I have it all as automated as possible) :slight_smile: Screenshot from 2018-04-16 12-36-28

I don’t know. I’m currently using 16.04 on my website thquoteshub. Im planning to upgrade to 17.10.