CentOS Update Notifier
I have been content with my virtual machine (VM) that provides me a way to interact with work computers but remain isolated from personal work flows. After several weeks of use I realized I had no convenient way to remind me to update the system. While
yum-cron remains the darling geek tool for such notices, I do not want or need mail services on the VM.
When I had a CentOS 7 desktop installed on my laptop I remembered that I had graphical desktop notifications using
yumex in my VM. I soon discovered that there is no direct support for providing automated update notifications. Fortunately I still had backups of the original CentOS 7 desktop. I had to dig a little to remember how to obtain update notifications.
To enable update notifications on the desktop requires three steps.
- Create a
- Add the user to the yumex group.
- Configure yumex.
As my VM is used for limited purposes, I copied my original
yumex.desktop file from backups to
$HOME/.config/autostart. I could have copied to
/etc/xdg/autostart/. The contents of the file:
[Desktop Entry] Name=Yumex Name[C]=Yumex Comment=Install, update and remove applications Comment[C]=Install, update and remove applications Type=Application Exec=/usr/bin/yumex --update-only Hidden=false X-GNOME-Autostart-enabled=true X-GNOME-Autostart-Delay=15 X-MATE-Autostart-enabled=true X-MATE-Autostart-Delay=15
Next was to add the normal user account to the yumex group. The
yumex package installs a pkexec policy file that does not need to be modified.
The last step is to configure
yumex. I ran
yumex once, which then creates
$HOME/.config/yumex/yumex.conf. I then manually updated the file with a text editor using the original CentOS 7 backups.
[yumex] autorefresh = 1 recentdays = 14 proxy = exclude = debug = 0 color_install = darkgreen color_update = red color_normal = black color_obsolete = blue plugins = 1 yumdebuglevel = 2 start_hidden = 1 win_width = 1092 check_for_updates = 1 close_to_tray = 1 cleanup_requirements = 1 typeahead_search = 0 use_sortable_view = 0 skip_broken = 1 update_startup_delay = 15
With those changes I then could log into the desktop and after the configured 15 second delay, I would have an icon in the system tray of the MATE panel. A green check mark indicates updates are current. A black number indicates the number of updates available.
This is a nice mechanism for having a desktop update notifier.
Now the final point. Why isn't this the default configuration? This is an example of developers not providing usable desktops. The package installation should have installed
/etc/xdg/autostart/yumex.desktop. The installer should automatically add the primary user to the yumex group. The yumex defaults should be based upon wanting a desktop notifier. These should be the defaults because otherwise why would anybody install
yumex? Instead the user is left to untangle this mess. The Year of the Linux Desktop awaits.