I usually run the Software Updater when I switch on my desktop each morning. Very often I sit and wait while it displays this message:

waiting for packagekitd to exit

And looks like this:

enter image description here

I've done some websearching on this, and in spite of a couple mentions on Unix.SE, I haven't succeeded in finding out what "packagekitd" is, why I "wait" for it so often (can be a matter of minutes, not seconds), and whether I can avoid this somehow. My goal is to prevent packagekitd from hijacking my updating process.

Help appreciated! I'm running plain Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

  • 2
    – muru
    Aug 15, 2018 at 8:00
  • I've integrated the comment from muru in the only available answer. Thanks muru Jul 20, 2023 at 7:06
  • 2023 and I just faced this exact same issue. Luckily this post contained the solution!
    – Batwam
    Dec 15, 2023 at 9:56

1 Answer 1


PackageKit is a system made to use the distribution's software installation and update tools easier. You can read more about it here: https://www.freedesktop.org/software/PackageKit/pk-intro.html

You can stop packagekitd with the command:

systemctl stop packagekit

If, for some reason, you wish to disable it, you can use:

systemctl disable packagekit

Update for Ubuntu 22+ — the name of the service has changed to packagekit.service (thanks to rob74 for mentioning this).

  • 4
    Or if you really want to get rid of it, "sudo apt-get -s purge packagekit". Check for dependencies, but in my case, they were non-consequential. My final go used "sudo apt-get purge packagekit appstream apt-config-icons" to remove the extra cruft.
    – dave58
    Jun 20, 2020 at 21:31
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    Didn't work for me, until I noticed that on my system (Ubuntu 22.04) it's called "packagekit.service". Not sure if this is because of the newer Ubuntu version, but anyway, systemctl stop packagekit.service did the job...
    – rob74
    Feb 7, 2023 at 7:37
  • 1
    Yes, the service name has had an ".service" added to it in later versions of Ubuntu, which was not the case back when the answer was written in 2018. I'll amend the answer to reflect this.
    – DocWeird
    Feb 8, 2023 at 9:04
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    @dave58 what do you think about these dependencies? "packagekit packagekit-tools software-properties-common ubuntu-server". The last one seems quite important so I just stopped the service. Jul 20, 2023 at 7:05
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    @valerio-bozz : [Continued - stupid StackExchange 'limits'... ] I have found that by adding an explicit '+' to the package name, you can 'force' a package install for these critical 'dependencies. Try a sudo apt-get --simulate purge packagekit software-properties-common+ ubuntu-server+ and see what it results in. Note the '+' after software-properties-common and ubuntu-server. This will cause them to (be flagged as installs even though the apt-get command is 'purge' or 'remove' ' Once you are happy with the results, remove the '--simulate' ( or '-s' ) from the apt-get command.
    – dave58
    Jul 22, 2023 at 16:05

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