Can I configure Ubuntu to never install a specific package even if it is required by another package I install?

  • You cannot install a package without its dependencies, unless you want to break your system. – enzotib Nov 5 '11 at 22:05
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    @enzotib, first of all you're wrong: package dependencies can be redundant. there are numerous examples, or you can have installed an equivalent of a required package another way (for example I have openjdk-6 installed as it is required by all the java applications in the repos, but I never actually use openjdk-6, I set up everything to use openjdk-7 or Oracle JDK 7 instead). And the second thing - I didn't say I want the dependant package to be installed - it can just throw an error in this case, I just want to make sure a particular package is never installed anyway. – Ivan Nov 5 '11 at 22:29
  • There is a similar question. – Nimmermehr Nov 8 '11 at 15:38

As in Debian we can use apt-pinning for version and installation control in Ubuntu too.

To block the installation of a given package we may put the following lines in /etc/apt/preferences

Package: <nameofpackage>
Pin: origin ""
Pin-Priority: -1

By giving a negative priority for this pin we will block the installation of <nameofpackage> from any origin. Of course we could also use apt-pinning to pin a certain package version or origin.

Before you proceed it is strongly recommended to read the documentation given above and the manpage from apt_preferences because errors in these files are not checked by apt and if they occur it may break your package management.

  • Do you know if this could work in Ubuntu 12.04? Another question is reporting that maybe it doesn't work. – Lucio Feb 20 '13 at 19:27
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    @Lucio: sure - it still works; just tested it to work in 12.10 too. – Takkat Feb 20 '13 at 21:32
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    In the Package:-line, you can list multiple packages separated with spaces, like this: Package: metacity metacity-common libmetacity-private0a. (Seems like patterns like Package: metacity* are also possible) – Volker Siegel Aug 22 '14 at 2:46
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    In Ubuntu 16.04 Pin: origin "" didn't work for me, but Pin: release * did. – barbaz May 7 '17 at 15:00

In debian you can block a package, and that package wont upgrade anymore

# echo name_of_package hold | dpkg --set-selections

but I'm not sure that you can forbid

  • I just tried it on Ubuntu 15.10 (wily) and it didn't block the package; just gave me a warning package not in database – Brent Baccala Aug 22 '16 at 20:55

I have a package that keeps sneaking back in and breaking git

sudo apt-mark hold libgnutls-deb0-28

should prevent that package from being installed

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