We've recently upgraded from 10.04 to 14.04.

We have some held packages, which we upgrade them from time to time. It appears that on 14.04, when you install or upgrade a package it removes the hold for the package.

$ dpkg --get-selections libmysqlclient18
libmysqlclient18:amd64              install

# Hold the package
$ echo 'libmysqlclient18:amd64 hold' | sudo dpkg --set-selections

# Check that worked
$ dpkg --get-selections libmysqlclient18
libmysqlclient18:amd64              hold

# Install a new version of the package
$ sudo apt-get install libmysqlclient18
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
The following held packages will be changed:
The following packages will be upgraded:
  libmysqlclient18 mysql-common
2 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 14 not upgraded.
Need to get 610 kB of archives.
After this operation, 0 B of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y
Get:1 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty-updates/main mysql-common all 5.5.44-0ubuntu0.14.04.1 [13.9 kB]
Get:2 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty-updates/main libmysqlclient18 amd64 5.5.44-0ubuntu0.14.04.1 [596 kB]
Fetched 610 kB in 1s (339 kB/s)
Reading changelogs... Done
apt-listchanges: Mailing root: apt-listchanges: changelogs for <host>
(Reading database ... 490677 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../mysql-common_5.5.44-0ubuntu0.14.04.1_all.deb ...
Unpacking mysql-common (5.5.44-0ubuntu0.14.04.1) over (5.5.43-0ubuntu0.14.04.1) ...
Preparing to unpack .../libmysqlclient18_5.5.44-0ubuntu0.14.04.1_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking libmysqlclient18:amd64 (5.5.44-0ubuntu0.14.04.1) over (5.5.43-0ubuntu0.14.04.1) ...
Setting up mysql-common (5.5.44-0ubuntu0.14.04.1) ...
Setting up libmysqlclient18:amd64 (5.5.44-0ubuntu0.14.04.1) ...
Processing triggers for libc-bin (2.19-0ubuntu6.6) ...

The install removed the hold!

$ dpkg --get-selections libmysqlclient18
libmysqlclient18:amd64              install

This happens for packages without postinst/prerm scripts, so it seems the problem is with apt and not with the packages themselves. It didn't happen in 10.04.

Can anyone suggest a workaround that will prevent apt from doing this?

1 Answer 1


This is a dpkg change, not an apt change:

# dpkg --get-selections  | grep hold
google-chrome-stable                            hold
# dpkg -i google-chrome-stable_44.0.2403.125-1_amd64.deb
(Reading database ... 318187 files and directories currently installed.)
# dpkg --get-selections  | grep hold

After doing some git bisect, this change was introduced in https://anonscm.debian.org/cgit/dpkg/dpkg.git/commit/?id=fb8997a460a0ef2909199b4603604a4e855003e0 as part of https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=162541

  • Thanks, that probably took a bit of work to track down. Doesn't help me work around it, but we may have another solution (considering adding a line to our postinst scripts to mark the packages as held again, since these are all packages we control).
    – craigds
    Aug 6, 2015 at 22:20
  • Another update: you can't actually mark a package as held during postinst, because you can't acquire the dpkg lock. So we still need a workaround.
    – craigds
    Aug 7, 2015 at 5:05

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