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Packages Can Be Updated

posted Dec 3, 2012, 6:31 AM by Allen Gattis
When you log into a server at the command line, you often get a nice message summarizing what's going on. This is called the message of the day. It used to be just a file, but now its framework that you can plug into.

Welcome to Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS (GNU/Linux 3.2.0-33-generic x86_64)

 * Documentation:  https://help.ubuntu.com/

  System information as of Mon Dec  3 09:13:13 EST 2012

  System load:  0.04                Processes:             144
  Usage of /:   41.5% of 285.47GB   Users logged in:       0
  Memory usage: 41%                 IP address for eth0:
  Swap usage:   0%                  IP address for virbr0:

  Graph this data and manage this system at https://landscape.canonical.com/

10 packages can be updated.
0 updates are security updates.

*** System restart required ***
Last login: Tue Nov 27 21:06:07 2012 from

But in a minimal install you may only get:

Welcome to Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS (GNU/Linux 3.2.0-33-generic i686)

 * Documentation:  https://help.ubuntu.com/
Last login: Mon Dec  3 08:50:59 2012 from 

Why is all that data missing? The answer is it's provided by other packages that take advantage of the Ubuntu  update-motd package and the framework it provides. 

How do you get it?

For the security message, i.e. X packages can be updated, you need to install the update-notifier package so that it places files in the /etc/update-motd.d/ folder and installs itself as well. But at 170 some Mb (if you are txt only), you'll want to think twice.