Ubuntu – How to get an indicator icon for new updates


I don’t want Update Manager popping up on its own, but I do want to be notified that there are new updates. In older Ubuntu releases (I don’t remember how old), an icon would display in the notification area if there were updates available, with a different look if there were security updates. I could either bring up a terminal and do sudo apt-get upgrade or just click the icon to bring up Update Manager. In 10.10 I ran this command to get that behavior back:

gconftool -s --type bool /apps/update-notifier/auto_launch false

That was working great, but now that I’m running 11.04 with Unity, nothing shows up at all. If I do sudo apt-get upgrade in terminal it installs updates if there are any, but there aren’t always updates and I’d like the nice non-invasive reminder icon back if at all possible. I’ve read about Unity hiding some indicator icons so maybe that’s what’s happening here?

Best Answer

  • I logged in this morning and had my updates icon, just as I wanted! Here’s what worked to get this working using commands in the terminal:

    1. Check what’s already allowed using gsettings get com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist since you probably don’t want to turn anything off. My default value was ['JavaEmbeddedFrame', 'Mumble', 'Wine', 'Skype', 'hp-systray', 'scp-dbus-service'].
    2. If you suspect you have other missing icons (for example, Pidgin), you can find the correct values to add to the list with grep TrayChild ~/.xsession-errors ― if something tried to add itself to the tray it will show up with the name the system knows it by.
    3. Add update-notifier (and anything else you found in step 2) to the list. If you had the same default values as I did, use this command: gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['JavaEmbeddedFrame', 'Mumble', 'Wine', 'Skype', 'hp-systray', 'scp-dbus-service', 'update-notifier']"
    4. Now set update notifier not to auto-launch (this is from the question): gconftool -s --type bool /apps/update-notifier/auto_launch false

    Next time there are updates, you get the icon notifying you ― hooray!