When using "Backups" (a.k.a. deja-dup) - it doesn't find duplicity, although it's installed:

I have been trying to backup using "Backups" (a.k.a. deja-dup), and it turns out that the current duplicity (which deja-dup uses) still has the "Unicode bug" (it fails when dealing with Unicode strings). (I have "Backups" (a.k.a. deja-dup) installed on my system: "deja-dup backup tool" v 37.0, and had duplicity v 0.7.17).

My system:

~$ lsb_release -a
Description:   Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS; Release:  18.04; Codename:   bionic

So, I then removed the existing installation of duplicity, and installed duplicity 0.8 from source: https://launchpad.net/duplicity. It installs duplicity at: /usr/local/bin. It's in PATH:

~$ echo $PATH

After loading and installing all the requirements, duplicity 0.8 itself runs fine:

~$ duplicity -V
duplicity 0.8.05

But, when running "Backups" (deja-dup), it doesn't find it. A window pops up, saying:


In order to continue, the following package needs to be installed: duplicity

I installed dconf-editor, found /org/gnome/deja-dup, but I don't see there any settings for the duplicity path.

nautilus and "apt list --installed" don't see it, either.

Note: cross posted here

  • 2
    Duplicity by default on Ubuntu is installed in /usr/bin. You should try to install it there.
    – dadexix86
    Oct 13, 2019 at 19:31
  • If no success, You may also try faking a Debian package like in askubuntu.com/a/497944/26246
    – user.dz
    Oct 14, 2019 at 17:51
  • @user.dz: "Backups" (=="deja-dup") must run duplicity, and it's not finding it because duplicity wasn't installed using the package management mechanism (dpkg | apt, etc.) but directly from tar. How do you make this happen using a fake package? (using equivs)? Oct 14, 2019 at 19:53
  • @HelenCraigman, Yeah using equivs, create empty package with same name. Steps are resumed in an answer from above link, You may also copy info from original package, check CONTROL file.
    – user.dz
    Oct 14, 2019 at 19:56
  • 1
    @user.dz: I think your comment is correct. (I looked around the net). Write it here as an answer, and I'll mark it as the right answer. Oct 16, 2019 at 15:17

4 Answers 4


To solve your original issue of Unicode errors, I would recommend trying the snap version of Deja Dup. It has the 0.8 version of duplicity bundled in.


If Deja-Dup does check for duplicity package instead of command, you may try faking a Debian package like in this case MySQL 5.6 depends on client 5.5 , which is about a dependency issue.

equivs may help to create dummy packages.

  1. Install equivs:

    sudo apt-get install equivs
  2. Generate control file from template:

    equivs-control duplicity
  3. Open duplicity file for edit. Change name and version if needed:

    Package: duplicity
    Version: 0.8.05
  4. Build then install it:

    equivs-build duplicity
    sudo dpkg -i duplicity*.deb


  • It can be uninstalled like any package. If you are using this method on large scale (company computers), write something in description (step 3) to indicate it's a dummy/fake package.
  • For general case, some packages have Provides:.. field, check original package and copy that line from its control file, add it with step (3).

Programs can run with different PATH values. The most common that has bitten me is that sudo commands use a limited set of path values.

To Check the environment that a program is running with run ps axeww | grep deja-dup. The output will include the value of PATH used, towards the end of the output.

If the executable is not in the PATH used by deja-dup, you can add a symbolic link. For example to add a symbolic link in /usr/bin/ run a command similar to the following.

sudo ln -s /usr/local/bin/duplicity /usr/bin

  • Running "ps axeww | grep deja-dup", there is a "PATH" entry there, and the right path (/usr/local/bin) appears there. So that's not the problem. Oct 14, 2019 at 16:20

Install snap version of duplicity, purge apt duplicity, and create link from snap to apt default location(/usr/bin/duplicity). And reboot.

See here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/duplicity/+bug/1770929/comments/30

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