Apt is the system that Debian use for package update, installation and removal. Cron-apt help you to automate the updates. You can configure it to do anythig that you can do by running apt-get or aptitude.


  • Flexible update mechanism
    • Can download updated packages (default behaviour) (*)
    • Can install security updates automatically
    • Can install all updated packages automatically (*)
    • Can do anything you can do with apt, but automated
  • Separates update actions in separate files
  • Each action can have its own configuration options
  • Configurable mail notifications
  • Can log to syslog
  • Random update time (*)
  • Can log only differences between runs
  • POSIX shell compatible
  • Open source (*)

It was developed in order to make it easier for system administrators to update Debian systems. A lot of the functionality is now included in the apt package so in many cases this software is no longer needed. The functionality provided in apt is marked with a (*) above. If you only plan to do the actions provided by cron-apt default configuration you can just as well change the apt configuration instead.


You can download the latest version of cron-apt from the svn repository.

Cron-apt is part of many Linux distributions including:


The sample configuration file has instructions on how to configure cron-apt.

Third party documentation


The main development and maintenance of the cron-apt software is done by Inguza Technology AB, but the Open Source Community has contributed with bug reports, improvement suggestions, code and patches. The full list of contributors can be found in the AUTHORS file in the software package.


Inguza Technology AB can give commercial support for cron-apt if needed.

The current list of bugs and improvement suggestions are available from the Debian Bug tracker for the debarchiver package.


GNU General Public License

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