I want to use the 'progress' status option with dd which is available with coreutils 8.24 up. Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty) has coreutils 8.21 and the current (stable) release for coreutils is >8.24.

I wish to upgrade from 8.21 to 8.24 in the same system and after searching the Internet I have come to learn that I would most likely have to build the package from source. But living in Ubuntu for all the time in my short computing life, I have never build a package from source and have no idea how to. Also, I am not sure if upgrading coreutils without Ubuntu's "permission" would not cause a system crash through some dependency issues for other utilities.

Is it possible to upgrade coreutils without effecting my current Ubuntu system? Could someone point out the way by which it could be achieved?

  • 2
    It may even be possible, but I wouldn't recommend you to do so. That's because coreutils is a very sensitive and core part of the system. If you want the new dd feature you can compile dd itself and place it in a separate directory. Then you can run it by giving its absolute path. This way you create a sandbox. Feb 19, 2016 at 8:50
  • @EduardoCola this sandbox idea is amazing. I never thought about it this way. Big thanks!
    – solyarist
    Feb 19, 2016 at 8:52
  • @EduardoCola you may as well put that in an answer. However, I don't see why upgrading coreutils would break anything. It doesn't provide any system libraries, only various executables and AFAIK, they are always backwards compatible.
    – terdon
    Feb 19, 2016 at 15:55
  • @terdon I understand you. But what I mean is that it's a fragile part of the system. If something messes up, you're lost. Feb 19, 2016 at 18:14
  • @EduardoCola, you may forget or something, you deserve the credit. But if you are not going to post an answer, do you allow to solyarist to post one?
    – user.dz
    Nov 22, 2016 at 10:57

1 Answer 1


You can download, compile and install coreutils into a user defined directory for non system use.

Running as root, I used the following commands to install version 8.27 to /root/coreutils

cd /root
wget http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/coreutils/coreutils-8.27.tar.xz && tar xf coreutils-8.27.tar.xz
cd /root/coreutils-8.27 && ./configure \
        --prefix=/root/coreutils            \
        --libexecdir=/root/coreutils/lib    \
        --enable-no-install-program=kill,uptime && make && make install

You can then run the command using the absolute path of the installed binaries.

 $ /root/coreutils/bin/dd

Update the wget url to use the version you desire. You can find coreutil releases here http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/coreutils/

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