Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

If I use apt-get install -qq mono-devel, I expect it to be quiet except for errors, according to the help:

-qq No output except for errors

Instead I get:

Extracting templates from packages: 100%
Selecting previously unselected package binfmt-support.
(Reading database ... 84711 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking binfmt-support (from .../binfmt-support_2.0.8_i386.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package cli-common.
Unpacking cli-common (from .../cli-common_0.8.2_all.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package libgdiplus.
Unpacking libgdiplus (from .../libgdiplus_2.10-3_i386.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package libmono-2.0-1.
Unpacking libmono-2.0-1 (from .../libmono-2.0-1_2.10.8.1-1ubuntu2.2_i386.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package libmono-2.0-dev.
Unpacking libmono-2.0-dev (from .../libmono-2.0-dev_2.10.8.1-1ubuntu2.2_i386.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package libmono-corlib4.0-cil.
Unpacking libmono-corlib4.0-cil (from .../libmono-corlib4.0-cil_2.10.8.1-1ubuntu2.2_all.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package libmono-system-xml4.0-cil.
Unpacking libmono-system-xml4.0-cil (from .../libmono-system-xml4.

and more...

In fact, a couple hundred lines worth of output. This does not appear to match up with no output except for errors.

How do I actually get apt-get install to print out only when there are errors keeping it from installing?

share|improve this question
+1 for reading the help file –  don.joey Feb 19 '13 at 13:51
Have you tried using -q=# where # is a quiet level? (It's in the manual.) You may want to raise a bug report against this. –  Paddy Landau Feb 26 '13 at 9:26
@PaddyLandau I did indeed. I don't know why it's talking about selecting previously unselected package either or why that would be important, and I'm not sure if it's related to the state of the vms I'm running this on these on either, travis-ci. But the answer worked well. –  jbtule Feb 26 '13 at 13:38
"Selecting previously unselected package" simply means that the package manager is including a package required to satisfy dependencies. As I previously wrote, you may want to raise a bug report about the --quiet option appearing not to be working correctly. –  Paddy Landau Feb 26 '13 at 17:35

1 Answer 1

up vote 30 down vote accepted

A simple redirection could do this. It's not exactly what you had in mind, I'm sure, but it sure as hell works :)

In short, just whack > /dev/null on the end of any command where you want to redirect all the stdout into nothingness. Things outputted on stderr will still show in the console.

$ sudo apt-get update > /dev/null
[sudo] password for oli: 

No junk! And here's what happens if we're silly and break something:

$ apt-get cheese > /dev/null
E: Invalid operation cheese
share|improve this answer
That's a bit of a problem if you get a prompt... –  l0b0 Feb 19 '13 at 16:44
@l0b0 Hmm, yeah it is. Don't really know how to suggest splitting out prompts other than knowing when to expect them (removals and unverified packages are the only ones in there IIRC). Or, add -y into the mix (with caution!) –  Oli Feb 19 '13 at 16:53
The OP was fine with using -qq which implies -y. So adding a -y or just running his original apt-get upgrade -qq > /dev/null give the same result –  Wulfhart Feb 19 '13 at 19:59
@Oli If you're absolutely sure you're not going to make your system catch on fire, you could always sudo apt-get upgrade -qq --force-yes > /dev/null. -qq implies -y, as WulfHart said, and --force-yes makes it plow through just about anything. –  JamesTheAwesomeDude Feb 26 '13 at 13:46
@Vorac No it's just redirecting stdout (seeing the errors is a desirable thing IMO). –  Oli Mar 27 '13 at 13:34

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.