pk-update-icon displays notifications and an icon in the tray area of the panel when package updates are available.

pk-update-icon is no longer developed and will only receive fixes for critical bugs and security issues. All users are encouraged to switch to package-update-indicator which builds on modern technologies and provides a number of additional features.


Screenshot of pk-update-icon desktop notification and tray icon notifying
about available package updates


Source Code Repository

The current development version is available from the source code repository.


2018-07-02: pk-update-icon 3

  • Add note that pk-update-icon is no longer developed
  • Simplify PkuiBackend
  • Only show notification action if the update viewer executable exists
  • Exclude "." from tarballs
  • Update email address

2015-06-19: pk-update-icon 2

  • Update German and Indonesian translations
  • Update and improve Czech translation
  • Avoid passing more arguments to g_strdup_printf() than specified in the format
  • Document configuration default values
  • Make the update viewer command configurable
  • Prevent calling g_source_remove() on an invalid source ID
  • Improve README file
  • Add NEWS file

2014-02-07: pk-update-icon 1

  • Add missing function prototypes
  • Stylistic fixes
  • Add README file with build instructions and author information
  • Convert the manpage to DocBook V5.0
  • Use pax to generate tarballs
  • Fix automatic dependency generation and improve portability

2012-07-18: pk-update-icon 0.2.2

  • increase the default update interval and delay before checking for updates

2011-11-15: pk-update-icon 0.2.1

  • hide the autostart file in KDE and GNOME rather than explicitly showing it in Xfce and LXDE only
  • increase default startup-delay to 5 min (bnc#729230)
  • fix some typos
  • use the VERSION macro in the about dialog

2011-10-22: pk-update-icon 0.2

  • add dist target to Makefile
  • add french translation
  • added slovak and czech translations
  • added a button for installing updates to the notification
  • add an about dialog
  • added Indonesian translations
  • add CLI, make delay and interval configurable
  • add clobber target
  • GObject-based rewrite
  • fix the locale path
  • add license header to main.h
  • add compatibility with libnotify version < 0.7
  • add a man page
  • use libunique to ensure that only a single instance of pk-update-icon can be run
  • add internationalization support
  • allow overriding CFLAGS
  • fix desktop file and arguments order in Makefile
  • use libnotify's pkgconfig for buildflags
  • use GTK2 as Xfce/LXDE are not yet using GTK3
  • code rework, show notify window just once
  • added GPLv2 headers
  • change icon and tooltip of the tray icon
  • initial commit

News Feed


Manual Pages

Build Instructions

pk-update-icon requires a POSIX:2004 compatible operating system, it has been tested to work on Linux distributions. The following tools and shared libraries are required to build pk-update-icon:

Rebuilding the man pages additionally requires the xsltproc tool from libxml2.

Before building pk-update-icon check the commented macros in the Makefile for any macros you may need to override depending on the used toolchain and operating system.

By default, all files will be installed under the "/usr/local" directory, a different installation path prefix can be set via the prefix macro. In addition, a second path prefix can be specified via the DESTDIR macro which will be prepended to any path, incuding the prefix macro path prefix. In contrast to prefix, the path specified via the DESTDIR macro will only be prepended to paths during installation and not be used for constructing internal paths.

The following instructions assume that make is GNU make, on some platforms it may be installed under a different name or a non-default path. In order to start the build process run make all. After a successful build, run make install to install the program, any associated data files and the documentation.

Previously built binaries, object files, generated data files and documentation can be removed by running make clean, any additional, generated files which are not removed by the clean target can be removed by running make clobber.


Please send any feedback, translations or bug reports via email to

Bug Reports

When sending bug reports, please always mention the exact version of pk-update-icon with which the issue occurs as well as the version of the operating system you are using and make sure that you provide sufficient information to reproduce the issue and include any input, output, any error messages.

In case of build issues, please also specify the implementations and versions of the tools and shared libraries used to build the program, in particular the compiler.

In case of crashes, please generate a stack trace with a suitable debugger such as gdb, lldb, dbx, or debug after a crash has occurred either by examining the resulting core file or by running the program from the debugger and attach it to the bug report. In order to generate a meaningful stack trace the program as well as any dynamically linked libraries need to be built with debugging information, see the documentation of the used compiler for the required compiler flags. If any of the dynamically linked shared libraries do not contain debugging information, please either install debugging information for these libraries using mechanisms provided by your operating system or rebuild the libraries accordingly. Please refer to the documentation of the debugger for detailed instructions on generating backtraces.


Except otherwise noted, all files are Copyright (C) 2014 Guido Berhoerster and distributed under the following license terms:

Copyright (C) 2014 Guido Berhoerster

Licensed under the GNU General Public License Version 2

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA.