The following command worked fine on Ubuntu 15.10:

sudo apt-get build-dep emacs24

However, on Ubuntu 16.04 I get the following error when running it:

Reading package lists... Done
E: You must put some 'source' URIs in your sources.list

In 15.10 all lines (around 10 in number) with deb-src in /etc/apt/sources.list where uncommented, whereas in 16.04 the corresponding lines where commented out. For example, here are 4 lines from my current sources.list:

## Major bug fix updates produced after the final release of the
## distribution.
deb http://no.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ xenial-updates main restricted
# deb-src http://no.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ xenial-updates main restricted

What is the reason for this change?

Next, I would like to avoid manually edit /etc/apt/sources.list each time I do a reinstallation of Ubuntu. How can this (uncommenting the deb-src lines) be done automatically?

  • The reason is probably that for most users it's useless time/bandwidth wasting to update the database of available source packages every time. From the GUI where you configure the used repositories, you can easily disable/enable (comment/uncomment) those lines. There are also some sed scripts around. – JanC Apr 23 '16 at 17:30
  • The python3-software-properties package might be useful to write a Python script too. – JanC Apr 23 '16 at 17:43
  • @JanC Thanks, I wrote my own script. See answer below. – Håkon Hægland Apr 23 '16 at 17:55

Open Software & Updates and enable "Source code".

  • 12
    Useless if your ubuntu is a server with just shell – Voitek Zylinski Sep 1 '16 at 9:26

I had this same issue on a server install of Ubuntu 16.04, so no GUI. All that I needed was a couple of sed commands.

sudo sed -i -- 's/#deb-src/deb-src/g' /etc/apt/sources.list && sudo sed -i -- 's/# deb-src/deb-src/g' /etc/apt/sources.list

Then sudo apt-get update and continue on.


Here is a (currently untested) Bash script that could be used to uncomment deb-src lines in sources.list :

tempdir=$(mktemp -d)
cd "$tempdir"
perl -pE 's/^#\s+(deb-src)/$1/' "$source_file" > "$new_file"
sudo cp "$new_file" "$source_file"
sudo apt-get update

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