notifying users that a release is at EOL (was: feisty still in the archive?)

Tim timfrost at
Wed Dec 17 08:47:53 GMT 2008

On Mon, 2008-12-15 at 21:11 +0100, Mario Vukelic wrote:

> Nevertheless, it would be a great thing if Ubuntu maintainers had a way
> of informing admins of installed systems about important stuff like
> EOL'ing of the release or similar.
> Notifications or other well-integrated methods are a better choice I
> guess.

How are you going to get the notification to *all* the right people (and
guarantee that they will understand - let alone act on - the message if
they do receive it)?

If a machine has no network connectivity (or at least, can't connect to
the archives to update the package lists), it (and the administrator, if
any) won't receive any notifications or updates.

What notification method is appropriate for a server?  By definition, a
server is installed without a GUI, so there is no notification icon on
the panel for anybody to see. You can't send an email from Canonical to
the administrator, because there is no registration of server admin
email addresses as part of the install (and they can't be automatically
subscribed to the ubuntu-announce mailing list).  The cron update
process *could* send an email to root, or to the initial user, but there
is no guarantee that that mailbox will be read on a regular basis.

The only mechanisms I can think of are:
* update the package that contains /etc/motd, /etc/issue etc, to put a
   message in those files advising of the impending EOL, and advising
   of options to deal with the problem (this may include updates to the 
   *dm packages for the graphical login pages)
* update ubuntu-minimal (or another meta-package installed on all
   flavours of Ubuntu), to add a dependency on a new package
   (release-eol, or similar) which updates all the messages files,
   including the login page used by gdm, kdm, etc. (I can see that
   this may be difficult, because dpkg doesn't like a file that is
   included in two packages)
* having a warning message in the login banners about the official EOL
   date, from the initial release.  The obvious danger of this is that
   of desensitisation - the person who needs to see the message the day
   that the release goes EOL will ignore it because he/she has seen it
   every day for 18 months :(

The updated package mechanism won't help for the case of the server in
the corner that nobody logs in to, or the stand-alone machine with no
network connectivity, but should help for the situation which prompted
this discussion in the first place :)


Tim <timfrost at>

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