Keep DNF automatic updates rolling in Fedora 26

DNF Automatic is an optional Fedora component you can configure for automatic updates of packages. DNF Automatic is provided by the (aptly named) dnf-automatic package. This package has been available in previous releases of Fedora as well as in Fedora 26. As with all releases, though, Fedora 26 introduced numerous updates. These updates included DNF version 2, in which DNF Automatic configuration changed in an undocumented way.

As a result of the change, if you previously configured DNF Automatic and then upgraded to Fedora 26, your system may not be getting automatic updates. However, there’s now a DNF package that restores the previous configuration interface. But of course, you’ll need to install that update manually. After that, automatic updates will resume on your system.

Restoring automatic updates

Through updates-testing

If you don’t want to wait for a stable update through normal channels, you can use packages intended for advance testing. To update, temporarily enable the updates-testing repository with sudo and dnf:

sudo dnf --enablerepo=updates-testing update dnf\*

Through stable updates

To restore automatic updates using a stable update (available later this week), do one of the following:

  1. If you’re running Fedora Workstation, use the Software application to apply updates.
  2. Or, run dnf upgrade from the command line. You may want to run this command under screen or tmux to reduce the risk of interruption.

Checking results

After you complete either of the above, run the following command:

rpm -q dnf

You should receive this version (or higher):


Don’t stop there!

Using DNF Automatic alone isn’t enough to keep your system fully updated. Remember, DNF Automatic doesn’t reload or restart services, or reboot systems. These are often critical steps in applying security updates. Don’t forget to take these steps with the systems you care about.

Photo by mrigendra chauhan on Unsplash.d

For System Administrators Using Software


  1. Brian Vaughan

    dnf-automatic sounds useful — with the caveat that automating software updates obviously involves some risks. But this article doesn’t explain much about what dnf-automatic does, or how it might be configured. Instead, it gives instructions on how to install the next minor release of dnf — and by the way, attempting to install dnf-automatic, stable or testing, forces a downgrade to the stable version of dnf, rendering the exercise pointless.

    And, from what the article says, we’re just a few days away from the update that will enable dnf-automatic anyway. Why publish this now, instead of just waiting until the updates were in the stable repository? Why not include more details about what dnf-automatic actually does?

    • Hi Brian. Another article explaining and DNF Automatic might be useful. But, really, this particular article primarily aimed at people who had previously configured it and didn’t realize that the version in F26 (without this update) might not be functioning as expected.

  2. Daniel A.

    I wrote a dnf-automatic tutorial some months ago for anyone who want to get started with automated updates in Fedora. It’s quick and easy to setup for your workstation or even an unmaintained home server or a Raspberry Pi.

    • Brian Vaughan

      Thanks. Yes, pretty straightforward setup, and with reasonable defaults.

  3. Jeff c

    When you set dnf automatic to only download updates and not install them, how do you install them later? Using the cache only flag?,

  4. It seems that only the name of the systemd timers have changed, see the wiki page:

    So I’d think it is somewhat documented and automatic updated work for me on F26 after activating that other timer.

  5. Daniel Laczi

    DNF Automatic doesn’t reload or restart services as described in the post. Personally I prefer Offline Updates. This is why running ‘/bin/pkcon refresh force && /bin/pkcon update –only-download && /bin/pkcon offline-trigger && /bin/systemctl reboot’ once a day is much more convenient imho. Note that the system is only restarted if there are any updates.

  6. Automatic updates are harmful to mobile broadband users in emerging economies — especially for those running rawhide where updates are rampant.

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