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aptitude via cron job generates path errors


I'm running aptitude in a cron job to update and perform safe upgrades every 6 hours. The cron command I am running is this:

(/usr/bin/aptitude -y update && /usr/bin/aptitude -y safe-upgrade) 2>&1 >> /var/log/auto_update.log

My mail box is filling up with this:

debconf: unable to initialize frontend: Dialog

debconf: (TERM is not set, so the dialog frontend is not usable.)

debconf: falling back to frontend: Readline

debconf: unable to initialize frontend: Readline

debconf: (This frontend requires a controlling tty.)

debconf: falling back to frontend: Teletype

dpkg-preconfigure: unable to re-open stdin:

E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (2)

A package failed to install. Trying to recover:

dpkg: `ldconfig' not found on PATH.

dpkg: `start-stop-daemon' not found on PATH.

dpkg: `install-info' not found on PATH.

dpkg: `update-rc.d' not found on PATH.

dpkg: 4 expected program(s) not found on PATH.

NB: root's PATH should usually contain /usr/local/sbin, /usr/sbin and /sbin.

I have checked my PATH and it appears fine:

mike@DRAKE:~$ whoami


mike@DRAKE:~$ $PATH

-bash: /usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/games: No such file or directory

mike@DRAKE:~$ su


DRAKE:/home/mike# whoami


DRAKE:/home/mike# $PATH

bash: /usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/root/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/sbin:/sbin: No such file or directory

Any help, thanks. BTW, running Debian 5


  • mdurakovich
    Also, should add that the command runs fine from the command line as root, and fails as user (which is what I expected)
  • nanodiamond
    I see no replies, so . . .

    I'm no expert, but it looks like debconf wants to prompt you for some system task, but you won't let it with the -y flag.
    I would look into PERL -- simple script may be all you need. (I'm no expert here, either, I would have to study on it).
  • mdurakovich
    No, I don't think that's it, as mentioned, it runs fine at the command line with no user prompts.
  • genomega
    genomega Posts: 7
    01 2 * * sun root /usr/bin/apt-get update ; /usr/bin/apt-get -q -d -y -u dist-upgrade ; /usr/bin/apt-get autoclean

    I used to use something like this, download but don't unpack. The y will answer prompts.
    Now I use Synaptic with automatic notifier. Runs in system tray, you can set it to check every hour, every day, etc.

    Auto upgrades are way to dangerous as once in a while a package will slip in that wants to yank out half of your operating system.


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