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the size of apt-get update lists is too big

After clean installing 12.04 (Release Candidate), and accepting all updates and upgrades till today, I find that sudo apt-get update invariably fetches information in the MB range, about 12 MB, whereas sudo apt-get upgrade mostly has nothing to download.

The biggest three fetches I see are: precise/universe Sources [5,019 kB] precise/main i386 Packages [1,274 KB] precise/universe i386 Packages [4,796 KB]

I'm pretty sure the sudo apt-get update fetches weren't anywhere as large with 11.10 and rarely crossed even 1 MB.

My question is this: are these large fetches just because 12.04 is recent or will these large updates be the norm?

Edit: in response to Mike's answer, I'm posting a couple of screenshots: Ubuntu Software Others

Second edit: I'm including my present /etc/apt/sources.list. This is after I unticked the "source code" entry which was previously ticked in the "other software" image.

# deb cdrom:[Ubuntu 12.04 LTS _Precise Pangolin_ - Beta i386 (20120421)]/ precise main restricted

# See for how to upgrade to
# newer versions of the distribution.
deb precise main restricted
deb-src precise main restricted

## Major bug fix updates produced after the final release of the
## distribution.
deb precise-updates main restricted
deb-src precise-updates main restricted

## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team. Also, please note that software in universe WILL NOT receive any
## review or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb precise universe
deb-src precise universe
deb precise-updates universe
deb-src precise-updates universe

## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu 
## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to 
## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in 
## multiverse WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu
## security team.
deb precise multiverse
deb-src precise multiverse
deb precise-updates multiverse
deb-src precise-updates multiverse

## N.B. software from this repository may not have been tested as
## extensively as that contained in the main release, although it includes
## newer versions of some applications which may provide useful features.
## Also, please note that software in backports WILL NOT receive any review
## or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb precise-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src precise-backports main restricted universe multiverse

deb precise-security main restricted
deb-src precise-security main restricted
deb precise-security universe
deb-src precise-security universe
deb precise-security multiverse
deb-src precise-security multiverse

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from Canonical's
## 'partner' repository.
## This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is offered by Canonical and the
## respective vendors as a service to Ubuntu users.
# deb precise partner
# deb-src precise partner

## This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is offered by third-party
## developers who want to ship their latest software.
deb precise main
# deb-src precise main

Third edit: For the record, lsb_release -a shows

No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description:    Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
Release:    12.04
Codename:   precise

Fourth edit (20120512): Here is the output of apt-get update I saw today:

Inspiron-1545:~$ fast

Ign precise InRelease                                                                                    
Ign precise-updates InRelease                                                                            
Ign precise-security InRelease             
Ign precise InRelease                   
Ign precise InRelease                       
Ign precise InRelease                       
Ign precise InRelease                       
Get:1 precise Release.gpg [198 B]          
Get:2 precise-updates Release.gpg [198 B]  
Hit precise Release.gpg                 
Hit precise Release.gpg                     
Hit precise Release.gpg                     
Get:3 precise-security Release.gpg [198 B] 
Get:4 precise Release [49.6 kB]                                             
Hit precise Release                                                   
Hit precise Release                                                          
Hit precise Release.gpg                                                      
Hit precise/partner i386 Packages                 
Hit precise/main i386 Packages                        
Hit precise Release                                   
Get:5 precise-updates Release [49.6 kB]                                                           
Ign precise/partner TranslationIndex                                                        
Ign precise/main TranslationIndex                                           
Hit precise Release                                   
Get:6 precise-security Release [49.6 kB]                                                          
Hit precise/main i386 Packages                                              
Ign precise/main TranslationIndex                                           
Hit precise/main i386 Packages                                              
Ign precise/main TranslationIndex                                           
Ign precise/partner Translation-en_IN                                   
Ign precise/main Translation-en_IN                                                                        
Ign precise/partner Translation-en                                                                    
Ign precise/main Translation-en                                                                           
Ign precise/main Translation-en_IN                                                                        
Ign precise/main Translation-en                                                                           
Ign precise/main Translation-en_IN                                                                        
Get:7 precise/main i386 Packages [1,274 kB]                                                              
Ign precise/main Translation-en                                                                           
Get:8 precise/restricted i386 Packages [8,431 B]                                                         
Get:9 precise/universe i386 Packages [4,796 kB]                                                          
Get:10 precise/multiverse i386 Packages [121 kB]                                                         
Hit precise/main TranslationIndex                                                                        
Hit precise/multiverse TranslationIndex                                                                  
Hit precise/restricted TranslationIndex                                                                  
Hit precise/universe TranslationIndex                                                                    
Get:11 precise-updates/main i386 Packages [96.5 kB]                                                      
Get:12 precise-updates/main i386 Packages [96.5 kB]                                                      
Get:13 precise-updates/restricted i386 Packages [770 B]                                                  
Get:14 precise-updates/universe i386 Packages [27.7 kB]                                                  
Get:15 precise-updates/multiverse i386 Packages [1,393 B]                                                
Hit precise-updates/main TranslationIndex                                                                
Hit precise-updates/multiverse TranslationIndex                                                          
Hit precise-updates/restricted TranslationIndex                                                          
Hit precise-updates/universe TranslationIndex                                                            
Get:16 precise-security/main i386 Packages [32.9 kB]                                                     
Get:17 precise-security/restricted i386 Packages [14 B]                                                  
Get:18 precise-security/universe i386 Packages [8,594 B]                                                 
Get:19 precise-security/multiverse i386 Packages [1,393 B]                                               
Hit precise-security/main TranslationIndex                                                               
Hit precise-security/multiverse TranslationIndex                                                         
Hit precise-security/restricted TranslationIndex                                                         
Hit precise-security/universe TranslationIndex                                                           
Hit precise/main Translation-en                                                                          
Hit precise/multiverse Translation-en                                                                    
Hit precise/restricted Translation-en                                                                    
Hit precise/universe Translation-en                                                                      
Hit precise-updates/main Translation-en                                                                  
Hit precise-updates/multiverse Translation-en                                                            
Hit precise-updates/restricted Translation-en                                                            
Hit precise-updates/universe Translation-en                                                              
Hit precise-security/main Translation-en                                                                 
Hit precise-security/multiverse Translation-en                                                           
Hit precise-security/restricted Translation-en                                                           
Hit precise-security/universe Translation-en                                                             
Fetched 6,494 kB in 2min 51s (37.9 kB/s)                                                                                           
Reading package lists... Done
No files to download.
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Done! Verify that all packages were installed successfully. If errors are found, run apt-get clean as root and try again using apt-get directly.

(fast in the first line is because I'm using apt-fast instead of apt-get)

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marked as duplicate by 8128, fossfreedom May 31 '12 at 12:31

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

See @JohnSGruber's answer to the apt-get update cache size is too big. This is the most convincing explanation I have found. There's also a bug link in the comments where you can add yourself as affected. – zpletan May 20 '12 at 18:30

2 Answers 2

I disabled apt.conf's deb-src lines per mikewhatever's answer. This brought it down, as with you, to ~6MB.

Then I noticed that when apt was getting the package info, it was going through—my squid-deb-proxy server (which runs 11.10; I haven't gotten around to upgrading it yet). Uninstalling squid-deb-proxy-client from the client brought the information download size back to normal.

EDIT: Aaand it went back to its old behaviour. I also checked the virtual machine on my Mac (fresh install of stable release the day it came out) which I boot up every now and again; package update information is a big download on it as well. I'll leave this answer up simply to document that this solution doesn't work. Beyond that, I'm stuck.

share|improve this answer
Hmmm... I don't have anything squid in my list of installed software. I do see an IP address flash by during sudo apt-get update but it doesn't show in the final output and I don't know how to capture the transient screen output. Also, doesn't the IP address you put up appear after most of the data has been fetched? I'm going to try once again and see if I can at least get a screenshot. – user25656 May 14 '12 at 13:14
Do you have any sort of proxy or cacher? (Try dpkg -l *apt* | grep ii and look for anything like a proxy or cache.) For me, the IP address appeared while downloading almost every info file. – zpletan May 14 '12 at 15:13
This is what I got: apt, apt-transport-https, apt-utils, apt-xapian-index, aptdaemon, aptdaemon-data, apturl, apturl-common, laptop-detect, libapt-inst1.4, libapt-pkg4.12, libatk-adaptor, libatk-adaptor-schemas, libraptor2-0, python-apt, python-apt-common, python-aptdaemon, python-aptdaemon.gtk3widgets, python-aptdaemon.pkcompat, software-center-aptdaemon-plugins, synaptic, xserver-xorg-input-synaptics. .... I may see an IP address occasionally. I'd say rarely. – user25656 May 14 '12 at 15:55
All your packages look normal—I don't really know how to help you beyond this. Sorry. – zpletan May 14 '12 at 16:55

Perhaps the difference is the source packages. Try disabling them in the Software Sources window, or else, edit /etc/apt/sources.list, and comment out lines that start with deb-src, ...that is, if you don't need the source code.

share|improve this answer
Mike, please take a look at the two images I've added. In the first, "Source Code" is unticked. In the second, "Source Code" is ticked. These are, I am pretty sure, default settings because I didn't make them. Perhaps, they're a consequence of installing the RC instead of the released version? I think it will be safe to untick the "Source Code" in Other Software. (I don't need to look at source code.) As for editing the sources.list by hand, I can do it but my understanding is that these things are more safely done via a GUI. Let me see. I'll do the easy one first and see. – user25656 Apr 29 '12 at 6:33
The very first line of my /etc/apt/sources.list has # deb cdrom:[Ubuntu 12.04 LTS _Precise Pangolin_ - Beta i386 (20120421)]/ precise main restricted . Is the presence of beta normal? – user25656 Apr 29 '12 at 7:15
Okay, I used gksudo gedit to comment out all the deb-src entries and that brought the update size down to ~6 MB. – user25656 Apr 29 '12 at 8:11
Glad it worked, cause I wasn't quite sure. – mikewhatever Apr 29 '12 at 13:11
Mike, I'm reopening the question in the light of this, its answer and my comment there. – user25656 May 12 '12 at 7:32