I have recently upgraded my desktop OS from Ubuntu 12.04 to 12.10 (complete re-install). Before the switch I made a list of all programs installed on my Ubuntu 12.04.

sudo dpkg --get-selections > file

After that I re-installed Ubuntu 12.10 and when all was done I performed the following command:

sudo dpkg --set-selections < file
sudo apt-get dselect-upgrade

Here is when the problems start: I get several warnings like this when performing the commands above:

dpkg: warning: package not in database at line xxx

and many of the programs are not installed. I don't know what the line means.

I have searched the web, and it seems that I'm not the only one suffering from this. I have not find any solution that worked for me.

Any ideas what is causing this?


You have not only a list of installed programs, but every single package that was on your computer. Some of the packages are not in the repository any more, since they are replaced. You should be able to ignore these errors.

  • Hi and thanks for you’re response. I striped my file so that it only included the the software I wanted from the previous installation. The content now looks like this: – Magnus Nov 28 '12 at 19:15
  • Elaborate on “this”. – Martin Ueding Dec 3 '12 at 17:20

Check your PPAs and try to get as many you had in 12.04 added to your 12.10. If you don't remember them, no big deal, but you'll lose software, while keeping the dependencies installed from the main repos.

On your old installation, you may have PPAs and repositories. Since the repositories may obsolete or cease packaging certain packages,

For example, a PPA had foo and the default repositories had bar. However, on the new version, the repositories no longer include bar and you don't have the foo PPA. Neither of these packages has been installed, but their dependencies that still exist will be since they are part of sudo dpkg --get-selections.


Hi and thanks for your inputs! The problem is that I receive warnings on every software/package on the list and nothing is installed. every thing could not be obsolete?

Now lets be honest, I made my computer "crash" when tying different things! In a attempt to avoid warnings I thought that if I stripped my file created with sudo dpkg --get-selections > fileand only kept the lines for software I wanted to install like eclipse, back-in-time and so on, I would get my software installed. My thought was that things excluded from the list would be kept untouched as it is on my laptop. What seems to happen when I executed the commandssudo dpkg --set-selections < fileand sudo apt-get dselect-upgrade is that the things on the list was installed and everything else was removed. It seems that this was not a good idea ;-)

Not to worry, I reinstalled Ubuntu and used Ubuntu Software center to install all the software I needed. It seems that this is the safest way for a newbie like me. However wouldn't it be great if there was a smooth way of getting the same set of software installed after you reinstalled Ubuntu? A small gui for creating a list from software instaled on your current Linux distro and upload it to Ubuntuone/drobbox and after reinstall the gui woul retrieve the software from the list stored in the cloud.

Regards Magnus

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