This is a follow up to this question: What does “local or obsolete” mean in Synaptic.

I have not installed Open Office manually. I doubt that Open Office has been dropped from the repositories. So why are Open Office packages marked as "local or obsolete" in Synaptic?

Synaptic showing Installed (local or obsolete)

I am using Ubuntu 10.04.


I highly doubt that the switch to LibreOffice is the cause for the Open Office packages being marked "local or obsolete".

Several reasons:

  • There are more than just the Open Office packages which are marked "local or obsolete". For example: python-uno, scim, and xserver-xorg-input-wacom.
  • The ubuntu wiki pages explicitly says that ubuntu 10.04 still uses Open Office. (Link now redirects to another page. Link was: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/OfficeApplications/DefaultPackages)
  • There are no LibreOffice packages in the Ubuntu 10.04 repositories. As the link above says, one has to use a PPA to get LibreOffice. I am pretty sure Ubuntu will not drop Open Office packages without having replacements in the official repositories.
  • Ubuntu 10.04 is a LTS (Long Term Support) version. Canonical is very conservative with upgrades on LTS versions. Ubuntu 10.04 even still uses Firefox 3.6.
  • Usually, when they do such updates, there is a transitional package which conflicts with the old packages so they get uninstalled. So happened with the old adobe flash plugin package.

The most likely explanation is the following:

  1. You have the proposed repository enabled.
  2. Upgrades for the open office packages were uploaded to the proposed repository.
  3. You upgraded the open office packages from the proposed repository.
  4. The proposed upgrades were rejected and subsequently removed from the proposed repository.
  5. Synaptic can no longer find the open office packages with the same or newer version in any repository and declares the installed packages as "local or obsolete".

There is a more detailed explanation about the meaning of "local or obsolete" in this question: What does "local or obsolete" mean in Synaptic.

The proposed repository is a repository for, as the name says, proposed updates. If they are approved then the packages are transfered to another "stable" repository and all is good. If they are not approved then they are simply removed from the proposed repository. The transfer and the removal happens silently. There is no notification mechanism (that I know of) which notifies the user of these changes. That means if you have the proposed repository enabled you might get "local or obsolete" packages at any time without warning.

Note that it is not recommended to have the proposed repository enabled on a production system. The Proposed repository is meant for package testers only. I did not know this before and had the proposed repository enabled. I have now disabled the proposed repository after learning about it's purpose and the consequences.

There are two methods to "fix" the situation. With "fix" I mean doing something so the packages are no longer listed under "local or obsolete".

  1. Wait for the packages to be upgraded again. Hopefully, this time the proposed upgrade will stick.
  2. Remove the proposed repository and force each package to downgrade to the latest version available in a "stable" repository.

The first method is easy. Just wait. But possibly wait forever if the packages are never upgraded again.

The second method is not as easy and can be quite troublesome, especially if the package has other packages depending on it. An explanation how to downgrade from proposed is provided in the answers to this question: How can I revert back from an upgrade to the Proposed repository?.


You have some local or PPA build of openoffice.org-* installed. Looking at your screenshot, the version seems to start "1:3.2.1-6ubuntu1~10.". The remainder is not visible. Did you perhaps enable backports at one point, update openoffice.org, and then disable backports? Perhaps the same for some PPA that may have contained openoffice.org at some point?

Regardless of the cause, in order to make this not be marked as "local or obsolete", you need to have a current repository configured containing the version of the software you have installed. The least invasive method is to enable repositories containing the version of the software you are using (although I would expect that you would be upgraded to something based on 1:3.2.1-7ubuntu1 or 1:3.3.0-7ubuntu1 if you are using current backports (whether official or from a PPA)).

The more invasive method would be to run commands of the form apt-get install openoffice.org-gtk=1:3.2.0-7ubuntu4.2 for each of the packages (check the current available version to determine which version number to use in the command). This will probably result in all sorts of error messages until you have performed the operation for each and every package listed, due to the complexity of the dependencies chains in openoffice.org packages. Note that packages are not guaranteed to downgrade safely: while it is exceedingly likely that the packages will perform as expected after downgrade, in the case that there are problems, please update this question with any error messages that appear specifically related to downgrade, the specific versions you have installed, and the versions you see as available in the hopes that those answering can find out what operations cannot be completed.

  • This sounds reasonable. I do have backports enabled. Do you know a link to some sort of change log for the backports repository? – lesmana Jul 11 '11 at 9:26
  • I don't know of one, sorry. The content of lucid-backports is available from http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/lucid-backports/main/binary-i386/ (or select a different architecture if you use a different architecture), but it appears it doesn't contain openoffice.org. All official (and LP hosted unofficial) versions of packages can be found with URLs like https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/openoffice.org, which indicates that it hasn't been backported. Your version seems newer than that of the Scribblers (https://launchpad.net/~openoffice-pkgs/+archive/ppa). I'm at a loss :( – Emmet Hikory Jul 11 '11 at 13:27

Ubuntu now ships with LibreOffice as of Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwahl) instead of OpenOffice.

  • 2
    The OP is on Ubuntu 10.04. – Flimm May 24 '11 at 18:49

Ubuntu has switched to LibreOffice suite starting from Natty (11.10). At now LibreOffice is default office application in Ubuntu (OfficeApplications/DefaultPackages).

You can find some backgrounds here.

If you want to keep support from Ubuntu, you should switch to LibreOffice, even because at now it is compatible with OpenOffice file formats (LibreOffice is a derivative of OpenOffice).

Since the link you provided proves OpenOffice is maintained in 10.04, I think you should check:

  • That repositories are properly set;
  • That openoffice* packages are not from a ppa deactivated/deleted after package installation.

In fact, looking to your screen-shot, it seems newer versions compared to the ones currently in Canonical are installed in your system.

  • The link you provided says that ubuntu 10.04 still uses open office. – lesmana May 24 '11 at 18:50
  • Yes 10.04 uses OpenOffice because it's an LTS release, meaning any package not deemed "STABLE" will not make it to the LTS, and LibreOffifce didn't exist back then, so the next LTS should have LibreOffice in it's repositories. – Uri Herrera May 24 '11 at 21:53

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