Nagios/Icinga plugin to check whether updates are available on a Debian/Ubuntu system
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This is a Nagios/Icinga plugin to check for security updates on a Debian/Ubuntu machine. It uses the update-notifier-common package and relies on an up to date package index.


The script requires a Python interpreter. It has been tested on Python 2.7, 3.4, and 3.5 but earlier versions of Python 3 may also work.

It also requires the update-notifier-common package and an up to date package index, for example by enabling package list downloads in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/10periodic:

APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1";

Behind the scenes, this uses cron.daily to run apt-get update once per day. The number indicates the update interval in days.


The check does not require any command line parameters. Example:

$ ./check_updates 
OK - no security updates available (7 regular updates).

In case there are security updates available, the script issues a WARNING response:

$ ./check_updates 
WARNING - 3 security updates ready for installation.

If the package index is outdated, the check returns CRITICAL. Missing files or infrastructure leads to an UNKNOWN response with a message pointing to the reason.