i.e. a loose-couple between mintupdate and aptd
But if the idea of an 'instant-on' mintupdate actually appeals to you then what is wrong with the cron route? I know I only instigated it on my system yesterday and 2 days evidence is not much to go on - tomorrow it might fail, but so far it hasn't.
My complete solution was a root crontab entry like this:
@reboot sleep 10 && apt-get update && rm -f /var/cache/apt/archives/lock > /dev/null
Coupled with a delay in Mintupdate/Preferences/Update Method/Start up delay 120sec (when I put this back to the default - 10sec I think - it stopped working)
I thought this would be enough but it wasn't, so I had to also introduce a start up delay to the actual boot of Mintupdate. In my case that is easy since I use the Fluxbox desktop by default, not Gnome, so
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sleep 30 && /usr/lib/linuxmint/mintUpdate/mintUpdate.py &
Is all I needed.
In Gnome/KDE it is not quite as easy, I guess you have to create a .desktop file with the delay written into it and put it in ~/.config/Autostart, but I am sure you know a lot more about that than I do.
The various delays may or may not all be necessary and you could certainly experiment with the timing of them. It might also seem that I am going to wait a long time for mintupdate to appear, but in fact that doesn't happen, pretty well as soon as my desktop has finished loading, mintupdate starts and straight away searches for updates. Since the apt cache is refreshed and the lock file is removed, if there are any it will display them and show the
symbol and if there aren't it displays the tick.
I repeat two days evidence it not much to go on and it might not be that important to you anyway, but I repeat the procedure in detail here for those for whom such functionality is important.