I have been thinking about writing a small script that checks if there are available patches for my machines for a long time. Never got around to do it until today and it proved to be easier then I thought.
Just add the following script to your cron-tab and the system will send you email when there are patches available for your system.
# Query pending updates.
if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
echo "Querying pending updates failed."
# If there are updates, display them to the user (cron)
if [ "$updates" != "0;0" ]; then
echo "List of available updates below"
If you want to send the cron email to a external account just add the following to the cron-tab of the user.
This has been verified and tested on Ubuntu 12.04.2