Debian: Install Packages that were Kept Back

Have you ever seen this message when updating your Debian-based system: "The following packages have been kept back"? Here's why you see it and how to solve it:

You just tried to run the following command:

$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade --show-upgraded -y

... and you get the message:

The following packages have been kept back

Running apt-get dist-upgrade is dangerous for a stable environment. The wrong source.list setting and you end up with a broken Debian. You might get the entire application upgraded to a version you don't want. For example, the kernel upgrade is kept back. You just want to upgrade the kernel, not the entire distribution.

A better way to handle a kept back package is:

  1. sudo aptitude
  2. If you have kept back package you should see Upgradable Packages on top of the list.
  3. Hit + on that list
  4. Hit g twice
  5. Answer debconf stuff if asked
  6. Press return to continue
  7. Press Q to quit
  8. Press yes

The kept back packages are now installed.


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