UpdateLed - Use your LedBorg to check for updates on your Raspberry Pi

This is an old driver based LedBorg script
We recommend using the new driver free based scripts for LedBorg.
The new driver free examples can be found here, the installation can be found here.

So you have your Raspberry Pi server running headless, how can you check if there are any updates for it without using SSH or VNC?
Never fear, UpdateLed will save you!

UpdateLed takes your LedBorg and turns it into a status indicator showing how many updates are available!
In the standard configuration it will tell you how many updates are waiting with the following chart:
None 1 to 9 10 to 24 25 to 49 50 or more Failed to check
Additionally it can be set to show blue whilst it is checking for updates.

Options include:
  • updateColours, lines 11-17
    Sets what quantity of updates show what colours
  • showWorking, line 23
    True to show a different colour when busy
  • workingColour, line 20
    Colour to use when busy if showWorking is True
  • errorColour, line 21
    Colour to use if an update count cannot be worked out
  • interval, line 22
    Number of minutes delay between checks, too small will cause a lot of network traffic

So how many updates did our test rig have:

A nice round 10 :)

Here's the code, you can download the UpdateLed script file as text here
Save the text file on your pi as UpdateLed.py
Make the script executable using
chmod +x UpdateLed.py
and run using

#!/usr/bin/env python
# coding: Latin-1

# Load library functions we want
import os
import re
import time

# Colour mapping for update count, ordered from largest to smallest
#                   [minimum updates,   colour code]
updateColours = [
                    [50,    '200'],         # Lots of updates
                    [25,    '210'],         # A fair number of updates
                    [10,    '220'],         # Some updates
                    [1,     '120'],         # At least one update
                    [0,     '020'],         # No updates

# Other settings
workingColour = '002'                       # Colour to use whilst checking
errorColour = '202'                         # Colour to use when we have had a problem
interval = 60                               # Number of minutes between checks
showWorking = False                         # True to show workingColour when busy

# Function to write the LedBorg colour
def SetLedColour(colour):
    LedBorg = open('/dev/ledborg', 'w')     # Open the LedBorg device for writing to
    LedBorg.write(colour)                   # Write the colour string to the LedBorg device
    LedBorg.close()                         # Close the LedBorg device

# Loop indefinitely
while True:
    # Set the working colour
    if showWorking:
    # Update the repository listing
    os.system('sudo apt-get update 2>&1 > /dev/null')   # The '2>&1 > /dev/null' is used to suppress any messages
    # Query apt-get for the updates it would perform in simulation mode (does not need to be root)
    rawDataFile = os.popen('apt-get -s upgrade 2> /dev/null')   # The '2> /dev/null' is used to suppress any errors
    rawData = rawDataFile.readlines()
    # Parse data looking for the updates summary
    found = False
    for line in rawData:
        if re.match('\d+ upgraded, \d+ newly installed, \d+ to remove and \d+ not upgraded.', line):
            # We have found the right line, split the raw text into usable chunks
            found = True
            line = re.sub('[^\d]+', ' ', line)      # Replace all non-numerics with a single space
            line = line.strip()                     # Remove any leading or trailing spaces
            token = line.split(' ')                 # Split by the spaces to get numbers
            # Convert all chunks to actual numbers
            for i in range(len(token)):
                token[i] = int(token[i])
            # Skip checking any other lines
    # Set the colour for the number of updates
    if found:
        numUpdates = token[0]
        print '%d updates available' % (numUpdates)
        # Search for the correct colour mapping and set it
        found = False
        for updateColour in updateColours:
            if numUpdates >= updateColour[0]:
                found = True
        if not found:
            print 'No colour mapping for %d updates...' % (numUpdates)
        # We could not get any data, display an error
        print 'Unable to read update count!'
    # Wait for the interval (in minutes)
    time.sleep(interval * 60)
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