Possible Duplicate:
the size of apt-get update lists is too big

After clean installing 12.04 (Release Candidate), and accepting all updates and upgrades till today, I find that sudo apt-get update invariably fetches information in the MB range, about 12 MB, whereas sudo apt-get upgrade mostly has nothing to download.

The biggest three fetches I see are:

http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/universe Sources [5,019 kB]
http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/main i386 Packages [1,274 KB]
http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/universe i386 Packages [4,796 KB]

I'm pretty sure the sudo apt-get update fetches weren't anywhere as large with 11.10 and rarely crossed even 1 MB.

My question is this: are these large fetches just because 12.04 is recent or will these large updates be the norm?

Edit: in response to Mike's answer, I'm posting a couple of screenshots: Ubuntu Software Others

Second edit: I'm including my present /etc/apt/sources.list. This is after I unticked the "source code" entry which was previously ticked in the "other software" image.

# deb cdrom:[Ubuntu 12.04 LTS _Precise Pangolin_ - Beta i386 (20120421)]/ precise main restricted

# See http://help.ubuntu.com/community/UpgradeNotes for how to upgrade to
# newer versions of the distribution.
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise main restricted
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise main restricted

## Major bug fix updates produced after the final release of the
## distribution.
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-updates main restricted
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-updates main restricted

## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team. Also, please note that software in universe WILL NOT receive any
## review or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise universe
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise universe
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-updates universe
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-updates universe

## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu 
## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to 
## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in 
## multiverse WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu
## security team.
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise multiverse
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-updates multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-updates multiverse

## N.B. software from this repository may not have been tested as
## extensively as that contained in the main release, although it includes
## newer versions of some applications which may provide useful features.
## Also, please note that software in backports WILL NOT receive any review
## or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-backports main restricted universe multiverse

deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-security main restricted
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-security main restricted
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-security universe
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-security universe
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-security multiverse
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-security multiverse

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from Canonical's
## 'partner' repository.
## This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is offered by Canonical and the
## respective vendors as a service to Ubuntu users.
# deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu precise partner
# deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu precise partner

## This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is offered by third-party
## developers who want to ship their latest software.
deb http://extras.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise main
# deb-src http://extras.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise main

Third edit: For the record, lsb_release -a shows

No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description:    Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
Release:    12.04
Codename:   precise

Fourth edit (20120512): Here is the output of apt-get update I saw today:

Inspiron-1545:~$ fast

Ign http://archive.ubuntu.com precise InRelease                                                                                    
Ign http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates InRelease                                                                            
Ign http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security InRelease             
Ign http://archive.canonical.com precise InRelease                   
Ign http://extras.ubuntu.com precise InRelease                       
Ign http://ppa.launchpad.net precise InRelease                       
Ign http://ppa.launchpad.net precise InRelease                       
Get:1 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise Release.gpg [198 B]          
Get:2 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates Release.gpg [198 B]  
Hit http://archive.canonical.com precise Release.gpg                 
Hit http://extras.ubuntu.com precise Release.gpg                     
Hit http://ppa.launchpad.net precise Release.gpg                     
Get:3 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security Release.gpg [198 B] 
Get:4 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise Release [49.6 kB]                                             
Hit http://archive.canonical.com precise Release                                                   
Hit http://extras.ubuntu.com precise Release                                                          
Hit http://ppa.launchpad.net precise Release.gpg                                                      
Hit http://archive.canonical.com precise/partner i386 Packages                 
Hit http://extras.ubuntu.com precise/main i386 Packages                        
Hit http://ppa.launchpad.net precise Release                                   
Get:5 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates Release [49.6 kB]                                                           
Ign http://archive.canonical.com precise/partner TranslationIndex                                                        
Ign http://extras.ubuntu.com precise/main TranslationIndex                                           
Hit http://ppa.launchpad.net precise Release                                   
Get:6 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security Release [49.6 kB]                                                          
Hit http://ppa.launchpad.net precise/main i386 Packages                                              
Ign http://ppa.launchpad.net precise/main TranslationIndex                                           
Hit http://ppa.launchpad.net precise/main i386 Packages                                              
Ign http://ppa.launchpad.net precise/main TranslationIndex                                           
Ign http://archive.canonical.com precise/partner Translation-en_IN                                   
Ign http://extras.ubuntu.com precise/main Translation-en_IN                                                                        
Ign http://archive.canonical.com precise/partner Translation-en                                                                    
Ign http://extras.ubuntu.com precise/main Translation-en                                                                           
Ign http://ppa.launchpad.net precise/main Translation-en_IN                                                                        
Ign http://ppa.launchpad.net precise/main Translation-en                                                                           
Ign http://ppa.launchpad.net precise/main Translation-en_IN                                                                        
Get:7 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/main i386 Packages [1,274 kB]                                                              
Ign http://ppa.launchpad.net precise/main Translation-en                                                                           
Get:8 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/restricted i386 Packages [8,431 B]                                                         
Get:9 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/universe i386 Packages [4,796 kB]                                                          
Get:10 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/multiverse i386 Packages [121 kB]                                                         
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/main TranslationIndex                                                                        
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/multiverse TranslationIndex                                                                  
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/restricted TranslationIndex                                                                  
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/universe TranslationIndex                                                                    
Get:11 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates/main i386 Packages [96.5 kB]                                                      
Get:12 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates/main i386 Packages [96.5 kB]                                                      
Get:13 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates/restricted i386 Packages [770 B]                                                  
Get:14 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates/universe i386 Packages [27.7 kB]                                                  
Get:15 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates/multiverse i386 Packages [1,393 B]                                                
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates/main TranslationIndex                                                                
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates/multiverse TranslationIndex                                                          
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates/restricted TranslationIndex                                                          
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates/universe TranslationIndex                                                            
Get:16 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security/main i386 Packages [32.9 kB]                                                     
Get:17 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security/restricted i386 Packages [14 B]                                                  
Get:18 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security/universe i386 Packages [8,594 B]                                                 
Get:19 http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security/multiverse i386 Packages [1,393 B]                                               
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security/main TranslationIndex                                                               
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security/multiverse TranslationIndex                                                         
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security/restricted TranslationIndex                                                         
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security/universe TranslationIndex                                                           
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/main Translation-en                                                                          
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/multiverse Translation-en                                                                    
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/restricted Translation-en                                                                    
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise/universe Translation-en                                                                      
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates/main Translation-en                                                                  
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates/multiverse Translation-en                                                            
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates/restricted Translation-en                                                            
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-updates/universe Translation-en                                                              
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security/main Translation-en                                                                 
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security/multiverse Translation-en                                                           
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security/restricted Translation-en                                                           
Hit http://archive.ubuntu.com precise-security/universe Translation-en                                                             
Fetched 6,494 kB in 2min 51s (37.9 kB/s)                                                                                           
Reading package lists... Done
No files to download.
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Done! Verify that all packages were installed successfully. If errors are found, run apt-get clean as root and try again using apt-get directly.

(fast in the first line is because I'm using apt-fast instead of apt-get)

  • 1
    See @JohnSGruber's answer to the apt-get update cache size is too big. This is the most convincing explanation I have found. There's also a bug link in the comments where you can add yourself as affected.
    – zpletan
    May 20, 2012 at 18:30

2 Answers 2


I disabled apt.conf's deb-src lines per mikewhatever's answer. This brought it down, as with you, to ~6MB.

Then I noticed that when apt was getting the package info, it was going through—my squid-deb-proxy server (which runs 11.10; I haven't gotten around to upgrading it yet). Uninstalling squid-deb-proxy-client from the client brought the information download size back to normal.

EDIT: Aaand it went back to its old behaviour. I also checked the virtual machine on my Mac (fresh install of stable release the day it came out) which I boot up every now and again; package update information is a big download on it as well. I'll leave this answer up simply to document that this solution doesn't work. Beyond that, I'm stuck.

  • Hmmm... I don't have anything squid in my list of installed software. I do see an IP address flash by during sudo apt-get update but it doesn't show in the final output and I don't know how to capture the transient screen output. Also, doesn't the IP address you put up appear after most of the data has been fetched? I'm going to try once again and see if I can at least get a screenshot.
    – user25656
    May 14, 2012 at 13:14
  • Do you have any sort of proxy or cacher? (Try dpkg -l *apt* | grep ii and look for anything like a proxy or cache.) For me, the IP address appeared while downloading almost every info file.
    – zpletan
    May 14, 2012 at 15:13
  • This is what I got: apt, apt-transport-https, apt-utils, apt-xapian-index, aptdaemon, aptdaemon-data, apturl, apturl-common, laptop-detect, libapt-inst1.4, libapt-pkg4.12, libatk-adaptor, libatk-adaptor-schemas, libraptor2-0, python-apt, python-apt-common, python-aptdaemon, python-aptdaemon.gtk3widgets, python-aptdaemon.pkcompat, software-center-aptdaemon-plugins, synaptic, xserver-xorg-input-synaptics. .... I may see an IP address occasionally. I'd say rarely.
    – user25656
    May 14, 2012 at 15:55
  • All your packages look normal—I don't really know how to help you beyond this. Sorry.
    – zpletan
    May 14, 2012 at 16:55

Perhaps the difference is the source packages. Try disabling them in the Software Sources window, or else, edit /etc/apt/sources.list, and comment out lines that start with deb-src, ...that is, if you don't need the source code.

  • Mike, please take a look at the two images I've added. In the first, "Source Code" is unticked. In the second, "Source Code" is ticked. These are, I am pretty sure, default settings because I didn't make them. Perhaps, they're a consequence of installing the RC instead of the released version? I think it will be safe to untick the "Source Code" in Other Software. (I don't need to look at source code.) As for editing the sources.list by hand, I can do it but my understanding is that these things are more safely done via a GUI. Let me see. I'll do the easy one first and see.
    – user25656
    Apr 29, 2012 at 6:33
  • The very first line of my /etc/apt/sources.list has # deb cdrom:[Ubuntu 12.04 LTS _Precise Pangolin_ - Beta i386 (20120421)]/ precise main restricted . Is the presence of beta normal?
    – user25656
    Apr 29, 2012 at 7:15
  • 1
    Okay, I used gksudo gedit to comment out all the deb-src entries and that brought the update size down to ~6 MB.
    – user25656
    Apr 29, 2012 at 8:11
  • Glad it worked, cause I wasn't quite sure. Apr 29, 2012 at 13:11
  • Mike, I'm reopening the question in the light of this, its answer and my comment there.
    – user25656
    May 12, 2012 at 7:32