Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I installed a fresh Ubuntu system. Somehow - possibly through my own error - the backports repository got enabled. Then I did several upgrades. I noticed that this happened when networking suddenly stopped working, "Network Settings" now has an "(alpha)" in the title bar, "System Settings" → "Network" now displays an error dialog saying "The system network services are not compatible with this version".

Now, I've disabled the backports repository, and I'd like to restore my system to its previously-functional state. My question is twofold:

  1. How do I determine which packages were installed from backports?
  2. Can I automatically re-install all those packages (and purge their configuration) to get back to a sensible state?

If the answer to 2 is "no" I can probably manually purge some things and reinstall, but it would be nice to have it handled automatically.


It wasn't an update that broke the network; it was apt-get install indicator-network, which installed something called "connman" and removed network-manager and network-manager-gnome.

Nevertheless I am leaving the question up, since I am still interested in how I can purge packages from a particular source after accidentally adding that source, and how I can determine which packages were installed from where.

share|improve this question
have you tried one of the questions that discusses ppa-purge? – RobotHumans Sep 21 '12 at 1:00
What version of Ubuntu have you started from, and what version do you have now? – mikewhatever Sep 21 '12 at 10:41
if a backport has broken something, then this should be reported against the appropriate backports project (see the projects list here: – micahg Sep 21 '12 at 22:42
@aking1012: nope. link? – Glyph Sep 22 '12 at 2:01
@mikewhatever: fresh install of precise. – Glyph Sep 22 '12 at 2:03

In case you've upgraded to Precise, it has the backport repository enabled by default, however, nothing should have been installed unless selected.

From the Release Notes

Backports are now more easily accessible -- to enable users to more easily receive new versions of software, the Ubuntu Backports repository is now enabled by default. Packages from backports will not be installed by default — they must explicitly be selected in package management software. However, once installed, packages from backports will automatically be upgraded to newer versions.

share|improve this answer
I believe you, but, how could I query apt to reassure myself that this is the case? – Glyph Sep 22 '12 at 2:04

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.