This is more of a curiosity question as I try to get a better understanding of apt and package management.

I'm seeing that in my /etc/apt/ and /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ folders I have very or sometimes identical files which have the extension of sources.list, sources.list.distUpgrade, sources.list.save, and so on.

What's the point of these duplicate or similar files?

sources.list and sources.list.save in /etc/apt/ seem to be identical but sources.list.distUpgrade shows quantal instead of raring for most stuff (I probably first installed quantal).

On the other hand, in the case of google-talkplugin.list and google-talkplugin.listUpgrade in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ the content of the files seems to be completely identical.

Didn't find much in Google searches. I reviewed the sources.list manpage but it didn't talk much about it.

Also noticed this article where a bug related to the extensions was noted for 10.10


I am not sure about sources.list.distUpgrade, but the sources.list.save file is a backup of the sources.list file. I know from personal experience (about 5 minutes ago) that the sources.list.save file is extremely important after attempting to add a repository. If software center stops working correctly (EX: closing right after starting) then you need to replace the current sources.list file with the sources.list.save file.

To do this, open a new terminal (CTRL+ALT+T) and type the command

sudo cp /etc/apt/sources.list.save /etc/apt/sources.list

and then

sudo apt-get update

This should fix the corrupt sources.list as long as sources.list.save exists in the /etc/apt/ directory.

Simply put, sources.list.save is just a backup file.

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    .distUpgrade is a backup of the source state prior to running a dist-upgrade since third party sources are commented out due to unknown compatibility with the newer distribution. – GregL83 Apr 15 '17 at 15:57
  • @GregL83 Thanks! Could you add that as an answer? – wjandrea Nov 14 '17 at 22:02
  • @wjandrea when I look at when this comment was made and that this user was inactive since April 2017 I heavily doubt that this will yield any result. – Videonauth Nov 14 '17 at 22:12
  • 2
    At what point is this .save backup file created and by which process? I noticed it is not always present. – yuranos May 30 '18 at 1:08

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