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Thread: Downgrading a package?

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  1. #1
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    Downgrading a package?

    I've tried to downgrade a package (using first the -s option,just to be sure I wasn't going to break anything) with
    Code:
    apt-get install <package-name>=<package-version-number>
    and I was surprised to see that it doesn't actually work the way I was expecting.
    If I pick for instance gedit, I can see just two version numbers available with apt-cache show,which are 2.30.3-0ubuntu0.1 and 2.30.0git20100413-0ubuntu1 : with the command listed above,I can indeed simulate installing the oldest available version of the two,which is 2.30.0git20100413-0ubuntu but then any other version that I can see in the changelogs isn't available,trying to install 2.30.0-0ubuntu1 results in this error
    Code:
    E: Version '2.30.0-0ubuntu1' for 'gedit' was not found
    As far as I can tell,this applies to every package I've tried so far:the available versions seem to be the current installed and the oldest one for a given release,all other intermediate versions that I can see with aptitude changelog are not available.

    Looking at it,there's no way I can eventually roll back to just the previous version of a package,because it won't be available-is this the normal situation,and if so,which options do I have to downgrade a package if I wish so?

  2. #2
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    Re: Downgrading a package?

    Quote Originally Posted by cogset View Post
    ...
    If I pick for instance gedit, I can see just two version numbers available with apt-cache show,which are 2.30.3-0ubuntu0.1 and 2.30.0git20100413-0ubuntu1 : with the command listed above,I can indeed simulate installing the oldest available version of the two,which is 2.30.0git20100413-0ubuntu but then any other version that I can see in the changelogs isn't available,trying to install 2.30.0-0ubuntu1 results in this error
    Code:
    E: Version '2.30.0-0ubuntu1' for 'gedit' was not found
    ...
    Can you please explain?
    To my mind, it is more like apt-cache policy rather than apt-cache show and when I run apt-cache policy gedit, I get
    Code:
    [01:28 PM] ~ $ apt-cache policy gedit
    gedit:
      Installed: (none)
      Candidate: 3.10.4-0ubuntu4
      Version table:
         3.10.4-0ubuntu4 0
            500 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty/main amd64 Packages
    [01:29 PM] ~ $
    This is with Ubuntu 14.04. What version of Ubuntu are you using?
    de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum -- Wiktionary

  3. #3
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    Re: Downgrading a package?

    I'll try to explain:as a proof of concept,in case I may want to downgrade a package,I've picked some random packages (the example was from Lucid using gedit,but I've also tried in Quantal using firefox and other packages),first checked the installed version with apt-cache policy,then the available versions with apt-cache show,then the changelogs with aptitude changelog:what I've seen is that I don't really have the option to downgrade/roll back to a previous version of choice using
    Code:
    apt-get install <package-name>=<package-version-number>
    ,because for any given package there are only two versions available,the current and what appears to be the oldest one.
    When trying to downgrade to any other version listed in the changelogs using the command above,it fails with
    Code:
    E: Version 'xxxxx' for 'package' was not found
    What I've seen is that actually on http://packages.ubuntu.com/ there are indeed no older packages,they are in http://archive.ubuntu.com :so maybe the only way to downgrade a package if one really wishes so,is to download the .deb package from there and manually install it?

  4. #4
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    Re: Downgrading a package?

    I've never tried to downgrade but wouldn't you (or APT) need to have access to the repository for the older software? So if you're on 14.04 and you want something from 10.04, won't you need to somehow add that to sources.list (or wherever)?
    de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum -- Wiktionary

  5. #5
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    Re: Downgrading a package?

    The process of reverting to a previous version of a package on Ubuntu is normally:
    Code:
    sudo apt-get remove package_name
    gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list -> comment out the ppa providing the new package
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install package_name
    Or using Synaptic
    1. start Synaptic Package Manager
    2. search for your package, click on it and select mark for removal
    3. click apply
    4. go to Settings > Repositories > Third Party Software and uncheck the PPA providing the new packge
    5. Click Close, and then Reload
    6. search for the package and reinstall it.

    Optionally, you can re-enable the PPA after reverting to the Ubuntu default package

  6. #6
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    Re: Downgrading a package?

    OK,let me try again:this has nothing to do with PPAs as far as I'm concerned,neither with installing packages from a previous release,in which case I can see how editing sources.list would be necessary.
    The assumption is something like that:
    • I'm using Firefox 28 in Quantal
    • an update to Firefox 29 is installed
    • I don't like Firefox 29,or something doesn't work,I decide to roll back to Firefox 28
    • Firefox 28 is not available at this point:I can only install,and I know because I've simulated this with
      Code:
      apt-get -s install Firefox=<firefox version>
      version 11,which is exactly the only other version,aside of the current one,I can see with apt-cache show firefox
    • Firefox 28,or any other intermediate version,can't be installed with the command
      Code:
      apt-get -s install Firefox=<firefox version>
      because it throws an error saying "package not found"
    • Upon checking,Firefox 28 and previous versions are indeed not available in http://packages.ubuntu.com but they are in http://archive.ubuntu.com ,so I maybe should add this line to my sources to eventually perform a downgrade?

  7. #7
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    Re: Downgrading a package?

    Quote Originally Posted by cogset View Post
    ... so I maybe should add this line to my sources to eventually perform a downgrade? ...
    That's my guess.

    With specific reference to Firefox 29, I don't have too many extensions and so installing CTR helped me get back what I wanted.

    Also see http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1036360 which suggests you can pick up a .deb from
    http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/. You may need to uninstall the existing version before installing the .deb. That would avoid modifying your sources file. Again, just a guess.
    Last edited by vasa1; May 12th, 2014 at 03:06 PM.
    de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum -- Wiktionary

  8. #8
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    Re: Downgrading a package?

    Thinking of it,you can't really add http://archive.ubuntu.com/ nor http://packages.ubuntu.com/ to your sources,as the first one you have already and the second isn't a proper source-so it seems that in my case the possibility to downgrade a package using apt is just theoretical,the only way to actually accomplish this would be to manually download and install the .deb package of choice from http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/main/ as we've concluded.
    That is,unless some apt guru doesn't chime in and say otherwise.

  9. #9
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    Re: Downgrading a package?

    Older versions are not kept in the Ubuntu repositories. So downgrading by apt is not supported...and the system will promptly try to upgrade to the newest version again.

    Generally, you must downgrade by finding the desired version of the package on your own, and then downgrading using dpkg instead of apt.

    The dpkg manpage is very clear that downgrading does not include dependency checking, and is at-your-own-risk.

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