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, 2011 at 22:05
  • 2
    @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, 2011 at 22:29
  • There is a similar question.
    – Nimmermehr
    Nov 8, 2011 at 15:38

3 Answers 3


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 not further specified origin, i.e. our local repository. Of course we can use apt-pinning to pin a certain package version or specific 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 may break your package management.

For an alternative, and to prevent updating of a given package see:

  • Do you know if this could work in Ubuntu 12.04? Another question is reporting that maybe it doesn't work.
    – Lucio
    Feb 20, 2013 at 19:27
  • 1
    @Lucio: sure - it still works; just tested it to work in 12.10 too.
    – Takkat
    Feb 20, 2013 at 21:32
  • 3
    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) Aug 22, 2014 at 2:46
  • 16
    In Ubuntu 16.04 Pin: origin "" didn't work for me, but Pin: release * did.
    – barbaz
    May 7, 2017 at 15:00
  • 5
    In Ubuntu 20.04, this seems to be the only way to prevent a package to be installed. The apt-mark hold solution described elsewhere does not work exactly as expected: sometimes it will work once (i.e. for the next upgrade), but then the 'hold' gets 'released' and apt will try to install it again... the only thing that seems to consistently work is adding files inside /etc/apt/preferences.d with Pin: release *. It's worth reading the man page: there are serious limitations in the filename; and you can use multiple packages in the same configuration file as well as use wildcards. Oct 15, 2020 at 14:49

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


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

  • 1
    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 Aug 22, 2016 at 20:55
  • This is not a reliable solution, especially when you have to upgrade your distro. The good solution is already provided: askubuntu.com/a/76075/93706 Aug 28, 2023 at 15:29

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