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I have 12.10 ubuntu and when I try to remove / install programs I get notification :

Software can't be installed or removed because the authentication service is not available.

(org.freedesktop.PolicyKit.Error.Failed: ('system-bus-name', {'name':  ':1.104'}): org.debian.apt.install-or-remove-packages

When I log in as root user (instead of user account that I regulary use) i have no problems.

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I have a similar bug after upgrade from 13.04 to 13.10 now: org.freedesktop.PolicyKit.Error.Failed: ('system-bus-name', {'name': ':1.44'}): org.debian.apt.install-file (I already checked: Policy kit is in autostart) –  rubo77 Nov 5 '13 at 8:06
I got this error when I changed desktop environment, devav2's answer worked for me. –  Flimm Dec 10 '13 at 10:45

6 Answers 6

It seems like the policy kit authentication agent is not started in startup applications program.

Add the below line to startup applications.


Also note that this was already raised as a bug and fixed is provided in software-center - 5.3.9

Update your software center to fix the issue.

Here is the bug details

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Updating might not work. The bug has reappeared. –  Zilvador Jan 2 '13 at 11:56

I had the same problem. It turned out to be because PolicyKit Authentication Agent was unchecked in Startup Programs. I checked it, and the problem was fixed. Hopefully that will take care of it for you as well.

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I feel you can just reinstall the ubuntu software it will get fixed i hav tred it. just type down this command in your terminal it will re-install the software center

sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get --purge --reinstall install software-center software-properties-common software-properties-gtk

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If it can help, I'm using xubuntu 14.04, and I had the same problem. I had policy kit launched at startup but the package policykit-1-gnome was not installed. Once installed it worked !

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@Devav and @Zoids are right. There is a similar question on SO here: Authentication error when trying to install or uninstall using Ubuntu Software Center (14.04)

Adding the link, so that it will help others. Apart from adding it to Startup items, you should even run the application, so that the application works for your current session. Hence run the application as sudo /usr/lib/policykit-1-gnome/polkit-gnome-authentication-agent-1

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PolicyKit Authentication Agent was unchecked in Startup Programs. I checked it, and the problem was fixed.

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