Update notifier for MATE (still not working)

tomas at tuxteam.de tomas at tuxteam.de
Tue Dec 29 14:34:14 UTC 2015

Hash: SHA1


coming back to this thread, since I didn't find a solution yet.

Pretty plain Jessie installation (with one addition from deb-multimedia,

What I expect: have the system notify the user about pending updates.

Gnome-packagekit is installed and their components can be called via
the menu. What's missing (and was usual under Gnome in Wheezy) is some
kind of popup appearing when there are updates pending.

Is this still supposed to work?

Appended are the notes I jotted down in the process, with some more
details. Take into account that I was a tad frustrated, because I
find those "modern" desktop environments fiendishly difficult to
debug -- nothing is meant personally.

Any hints prodding me in the right direction very appreciated!

* Steps so far
  A call for help in the Debian Mate packagers mailing list rested
  inconclusive (2015-09-06). Some hints off the thread:
  #+:FROM: John Paul Adrian Glaubitz <glaubitz at physik.fu-berlin.de>
  I think you're looking for gnome-packagekit which does exactly
  what you're looking for. It works nicely with MATE on my laptop.

  gnome-packagekit runs gpk-update-viewer to display an update
  dialog, see [1]. You will probably need to add a cron job
  for APT in /etc/cron.daily/apt to keep your package index
  up-to-date which seems necessary for gpk-update-viewer to
  pop up automatically.

  #+:FROM: Mike Gabriel <mike.gabriel at das-netzwerkteam.de>
  I have just spotted this tiny tool (from jessie-backports, if running jessie):

  #+:FROM: John Paul Adrian Glaubitz <glaubitz at physik.fu-berlin.de>
  As the description states, this is mainly for desktops like
  XFCE. MATE has it's own update icon. I just installed gnome-packagekit
  on my laptop and it works.

  Gnome-packagekit is installed:
  dorothee at oez-ege:~$ aptitude search gnome-packagekit
  i A gnome-packagekit
  i A gnome-packagekit-data
  i A gnome-packagekit-session

* Follow the money
  Dpkg -L yields three binaries:

  They even have man pages! So let's go read them (oh, yeah. Manpages.
  Very scant they are).

  - application seems to actually do the updates, interactively;
  - update-viewer shows pending updates
  - install-local-file allows to install a locally available package

  So no, that isn't what we are looking for. We need those thingies
  when we know there are updates pending. But who tells us that?

  There are some references to =gpk-dbus-service (1)=, =gpk-log (2)=
  and =gpk-install-catalog (3)= in =gpk-update-viewer='s man page.
  Dbus. Eek. So let's look there:
  gpk-dbus-service provides the PackageKit D-Bus session API in GNOME.

  Great. Very enlightening.
  gpk-install-catalog allows you to view the software log.

  (sic). Copy&pasto? Anyway. Doesn't really help either.

  And =gpk-install-catalog='s man page is identical to =gpk-log='s.
  Most definitely copy&pasto.

  No process with gpk in the name is running. What do the Intarwebs
  say? Much noise, little signal.

  What about packages with packagekit in the name? There's one virtual
  package =packagekit-system-interface= whose name sounds promising and
  an (installed) =packagekit-tools=. Look into them.

  Oyveh, the age of Rube Goldberg is here.

  The virtual one points to =python3-aptdaemon.pkcompat=. Not installed.
  Do I need that?

  Running =gpk-application= 0r =gpk-update-viewer= doesn't show an
  obvious way to say "check packages regularly". I can add =gpk-update-viewer=
  to the autostart programs, but that's not what I want.

  Before I mail to the mailing list again, check whether the notifier
  thingy is working at all. Another Rube Goldberg. Dbus-send who?

  http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?t=76037 gives an example:

  dbus-send --type=method_call \
            --dest=org.freedesktop.Notifications \
            /org/freedesktop/Notifications \
            org.freedesktop.Notifications.SystemNoteDialog \
            string:"content-here-blablabla" uint32:0 string:""

  But... it doesn't.

  OK -- adding --print-reply at least yields an error reply (method,
  SystemNoteDialog with signature sus (probably "string,uint,string")

  Anyway, clicking on "preview" in the system management thingie for
  notifications pops something up, so let's assume it's working.

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