When installing GNOME3 on natty, I got this at the Update Manager. All the items related to GNOME can not be checked.

I'm also trying to install via command line, but the download speed of the dist-upgrade is really slow.

What is the cause of the warning? And how to handle it?


Can you try the following first?

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Start by closing the Update Manager first...

I am suspecting that the update part is not properly completed.
If that is the case, just doing the update part successfully (without errors) on the command line and then trying with Synaptic or the command line upgrade should work without further errors. Download speed is a different problem tho.

  • I never trusted Dist-upgrade... Every time a new version of Ubuntu comes out that I would like to try (& I have the time), I just backup what is important, and do a fresh install.
    – Alex
    Sep 9 '11 at 8:48
  • @Alex, actually ditto :-), and its an easy and fast procedure. I even keep a backup of the apt-archives to replay on the new installation fast.
    – nik
    Oct 13 '11 at 10:35

AFAIK, the reasons for the warning may be:

Main reason:

If the dependencies have changed on one of the packages you have installed so that a new package must be installed to perform the upgrade then that will be listed as "kept-back".

In this case I'd recommend waiting for the dependency to be updated to new version, this would make the "kept back" packages no longer worth keeping back.

Other solutions: dependency is there but was not found

Excerpt from fossfreedom's answer to similar question:

I have found sometimes the package manager cannot cope with the extent of the changes a particular PPA is requesting to be updated.

Package requires dependency, that is perhaps satisfied by other packages (I'm not clear on how different updating tools deal with this, but not all of them find out that package they are yet to install fulfils the dependency of the package currently being installed). Then, you may either:

  1. do a dangerous dist-upgrade which may break your distribution,
  2. or upgrade by hand apt install list-of-packages-here
  3. or just get at them one by one: sudo apt install package1, then package2... (if you want to know which is problematic)
  4. or use another tool (like Synaptic or aptitude) to try if it will have that problem

Worth noting that it's Ubuntu 16.04 where apt-get install can be shortened to apt install.

Do you need them?

Taking a look at your kept-back package, I think sometimes you will have precisely the same thoughts as @lpanebr, who purged them (see his answer).

Finally: pinned packages and broken dependencies

There are options for safe upgrades or fixing broken dependencies. man your-tool-name-here should list them. IIRC it would be apt install -f packageName or aptitude --safe-upgrade but I'm not certain.

As for pinned packages - I know there is an option to pin a package, to make it non-updatable. However I've never done this, so can't offer details.


I was having a very similar problem. My update manager would always report "Not all updates could be installed". Whenever I tried this:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

I got this:

The following packages have been kept back:
  0ad 0ad-data ginn libgrip0 linux-generic linux-headers-generic linux-image-generic touchegg

Then I did:

sudo apt-get purge touchegg 0ad 0ad-data

Because I knew I didn't need those anyway.

After that the command line was still giving me the same as above. Then, for no particular reason, I did System Settings > Details and clicked the Install updates button. For my surprise it installed all those packages without any issues..

Very weird.. hope this helps.

  • 1
    I recommend bolding and italicizing the "I knew I didn't need those anyway" part :-) Aug 13 '17 at 9:01

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