I've been using Plex for a while and when I first started there was no official repository to pull from and the 3rd party (not Ubuntu or Plex) PPAs were badly maintained. So I simply used wget and dpkg to do a manual install of the official .deb files.

Now there is an official repository, I'd like to add it so that Plex will update with the rest of the system using apt. I saw this answer, but it's talking about going the other way; manual install over an apt installed package. I'd like some confirmation that this would work with apt over manual before I screw something up and have to uninstall/reinstall/reconfigure my media server. I'm pretty sure it will be fine since I'm get the .deb either way, but I just want to be sure.

Also, this repository is only for public releases, meaning I won't get early access as a Plex Pass user. This is normally fine, but if a new feature comes out that I want to try, could I then manually install and hold back apt as well? Can I switch back and forth between an apt install and a dpkg install and be sure that they will update the same package? What are the potential problems with doing this?


Regarding potential problems in switching sources

It's always a good idea to back up configuration and settings regularly, especially when changing software sources. It's possible some of your server's settings might be missed if one package is looking for data in another location, or deleted or overwritten with default values (this shouldn't happen, but is possible - For clarification, I'm talking about your server's metadata & config, not your media)

Replace manual with apt:

Yes, if apt finds a newer version of a package in a repository that isn't blocked by your preferences, it will propose installing it. If you want to see exactly what will happen if you install the new package, you can do a dry run of the upgrade by running:

sudo apt-get upgrade --dry-run

which will install nothing, but will give you a play by play of what changes would happen if you did run the upgrade.

So, if you once installed Plex Media Server with dpkg, and then add the plex repository to your sources using their recommended method, your version of Plex Media Server will be upgraded. I successfully tested an upgrade from a version of ~1.5.5 I found, then added the repo, and it updated to, the version currently offered as an update to xenial. There were no obvious problems with the update, sources were retained and the web interface updated. Before attempting this, it would be a good idea to back up your server's configuration, as mentioned earlier.

Manual over apt:

if a new feature comes out that I want to try, could I then manually install and hold back apt as well?

apt will only install a newer version of a package, as long as you haven't excluded it with your preferences. So, as long as the advance builds have a higher version number than what is in the repositories (they should), apt should not try to overwrite the package that you manually installed with an earlier version.

To be extra safe, you can prevent updating of a specific package - that linked answer shows exactly how to do that in dpkg or apt.

  • Your answer seems to apply to manual over apt and making sure that apt won't overwrite manual if manual is at a higher version. What I'm asking is if apt will upgrade and overwrite a package that has only ever been installed manually before. What is in apt will be a newer, higher version than what I have installed manually. I want to switch from manual to apt, but I don't want to accidentally end up with two competing versions. – embedded.kyle Aug 18 '17 at 20:01
  • I guess I was confused exactly what you wanted because your question in your second paragraph is more or less the opposite process as the question in the third paragraph. I guess I answered only the third paragraph, thinking I was misunderstanding your second paragraph. – drkokandy Aug 19 '17 at 15:58
  • Rereading my question I can see the confusion. Ideally I'd like an answer to both as I have a situation where I may want to flip back and forth between an apt install and a dpkg install. I've continued to look around and plenty of places say I can do dpkg over apt with the caveats you've mentioned. But I can't find anywhere saying it's safe to do apt over dpkg. I may just have to try it and hope there won't be any conflicts. – embedded.kyle Aug 19 '17 at 16:11
  • I'm adding more to my answer right now if you can wait, but whatever you do please back up your plex media server data prior to trying anything, especially if you don't have an other recent backup. – drkokandy Aug 19 '17 at 16:16
  • I won't be able to try this till Monday so take your time. But thanks for that link. That is something I've never done and should probably set as a cron job. – embedded.kyle Aug 19 '17 at 16:19

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