Your Linux Data Center Experts

Evelyn's laptop has been sending out a cron e-mail from the cron.daily “apt” job reporting a segfault. I've done some digging and debugging of the “apt” script and have been able to track down the issue. Please read on if you are running Maverick, particularly 32-bit, with automatic updates turned on.

The problem is with the python-apt library used by the “unattended-upgrades” program. You can reproduce the problem by running “unattended-upgrades” from the shell. I spent a while trying to track it as a cron environment issue because it wasn't reporting a segfault when I ran the /etc/cron.daily/apt script from the terminal – turns out it wasn't running unattended-upgrades when I ran it manually, because it had been recently run from cron.

There's a bug in launchpad reporting this problem. It references a fix in Debian's bug tracker, but Ubuntu doesn't seem to have been moving on pushing out a fix for this for nearly a month.

So I've applied the upstream patches and have put the packages up at http://jafo.tummy.com/maverick-python-apt/

So for a 32-bit system (from what I can tell, that's all that's impacted), you can install this update with:

wget http://jafo.tummy.com/maverick-python-apt/python-apt_0.7.96.1ubuntu11tummy_i386.deb
dpkg -i python-apt_0.7.96.1ubuntu11tummy_i386.deb

Once I did that, I was able to run “unattended-upgrades”. I'm expecting that the version I pushed out will be such that when Ubuntu releases a new one it just shows up as an update to this version and requires no manual fixing.

I'll probably remove the above directory after Ubuntu has made a release.

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