can i avoid automatic updates and stay in the Ubuntu universe?

pm flag

I have a cluster of 7 machines, all running Xubuntu. I use them for a very compute-intense hobby, which make me distrust automatic updates or anything else that might force a reboot even on a weekly basis.

For example, on one machine today -- the only one that has updated to 22.04 -- Firefox was reporting tabs crashing when I was just doing a search. I was unable to fix that with anything short of a reboot. I suspect it was some side-effect of the conversion to snaps, but I don't know that.

I also remember seeing references to other things that amount to updates happening without my approval or interventions. I'm suspicious of such stuff affecting the stability of my cluster, given that I may have a task that runs for a month. No kidding.

I'm not married to the X flavor of Ubuntu, but I chose it because it seemed to have the least amount of burden from features I do not care about. I live my life in the terminal, and pretty much avoid GUI programs aside from web browsers and a few things like gparted.

I can switch to Chrome, and avoid the snaps, but worry that there are other things trending in the Ubuntu universe that are going to make it hard to stay here.

I cannot just disconnect from the internet because my most useful machine (with 3 monitors) is both my contact to the outside and the leader of my work (has a large RAID with my database).

Does anyone have hard info about all this?

Difference from prior questions: I want to know about snaps, which I have not found elsewhere. I wanted to be sure the answers were current, because the prior question that was suggested to me had been asked 10 years ago. I wanted some clarity (because I had a lot of confusion) with respect to the symptoms on the machine that "went weird" on me. I got all that now. Thanks.

ar flag
Can you air gap your 7 computers? No internet, no hacking! Your question is not clear. You can set I auto update to once a month, or turn it off and update the day your task if not running.
sudodus avatar
jp flag
I suggest that you use one computer for general tasks including access to the internet and use the other computers for the number-crunching task. Those number-crunchers need not be connected to the internet, and for that reason need not be updated/upgraded. You could even use Ubuntu Server on them and that way minimize the overhead tasks (avoid all graphics programs).
ru flag
"Other things trending" is extraordinarily vague, and there's no way to possibly encompass all possible "trends" (a lot of which isn't actually true and just Internet hearsay and rumors). You can disable automatic updates on everything except snaps, and still use Ubuntu, however every once in a while you will need to do security updates to keep yourself safe (and MOST security updates do not require a reboot, nor does the system *force* you to reboot).
ForDummies avatar
pm flag
Nothing but snaps forces updates? I think one thing that worried me was mention of something called "live update" -- I think it was in reference to the kernel. Is that a thing? Should I worry about it?
ar flag
Live patch is a thing, but you have to sign up and opt in for it.
user535733 avatar
cn flag
"*My Firefox browser was crashing*" is a completely different situation than "*My system is auto-rebooting*," so it's unclear what you are asking.
guiverc avatar
cn flag
I've involved with Ubuntu *flavors* (*giving me a front row seat to some discussions along with other prior commentators*)& have a fair view of what is going on (*I'm on Ubuntu News team too*), and I've seen nothing that would concern me with your 'vague' & unspecific question. I know I can drop out *snap* & make a system *deb* only (I wouldn't want to!), I peruse all *deb* upgrades before I apply (so I can decide when I apply them), but don't see your actual concern as too *vague* & unclear. This also is a Q&A site & not a forum, your question would better suit a forum in my opinion.
karel avatar
sa flag
Does this answer your question? [How can I check if automatic updates are enabled and how can I disable automatic updates if they're enabled?](
ForDummies avatar
pm flag
What forums are there?
guiverc avatar
cn flag is the address of Ubuntu Forum(s)
cn flag

"Force a reboot" would be caused by a crash (bug), not by design of Ubuntu.

  • Snaps do not require a reboot under any circumstances (except Ubuntu Core snap-only systems, of course). And even Ubuntu Core systems simply notify you; they don't auto-reboot unless you so set them.
  • All other flavors of Ubuntu will simply record that a reboot is needed to load a newer kernel. But those systems still won't auto-reboot unless you change a setting in /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades.

"updates happening without my approval or interventions"

  • Snap updates can easily be controlled. See man snap. Here's one trivial way:
    sudo snap refresh --hold=5d firefox
    sudo snap refresh --unhold
  • Deb updates can also be easily disabled:
    sudo systemctl stop apt-daily.timer
    sudo systemctl start apt-daily.timer

WARNING: Disabling automatic updates is a Very Bad Idea for most users. It means no security updates. No CVE patches. No bugfixes. You're taking complete responsibility for marking your calendar and installing them in a timely manner. If your system gets compromised due to missing CVE patch, that's on you.

ForDummies avatar
pm flag
Thanks for the tips. Useful. I understand the issues, I think. However, I had to look up the "CVE" acronym. My contact the the outside world is one browser. No incoming contact -- blocked by my router. My workload is intense, stable, and authored by me. I expect to install updates about once every two years, just before the next LTS comes out, so that I get a pretty mature install. –
I sit in a Tesla and translated this thread with Ai:


Post an answer

Most people don’t grasp that asking a lot of questions unlocks learning and improves interpersonal bonding. In Alison’s studies, for example, though people could accurately recall how many questions had been asked in their conversations, they didn’t intuit the link between questions and liking. Across four studies, in which participants were engaged in conversations themselves or read transcripts of others’ conversations, people tended not to realize that question asking would influence—or had influenced—the level of amity between the conversationalists.