I encounter a problem I'm asking GIS community of StackExchange about : a Docker installation from a postgis:postgis image that doesn't install the command it should. The current workaround I have for it, executing an additional apt-get install postgis to make my missing commands appearing, is disturbing.

This is why, aside from this problem, I'm wondering about the goal of apt-utils package during installations. Without it, I see the warning message coming :
delaying package configuration, since apt-utils is not installed.

What does it mean ?
That the system is waiting a reboot or the service a reload to configure itself ?
What is the goal of the apt-utils package ? Should it be present in each installation ?


1 Answer 1


The short version is that everything is fine, you can ignore the message, nothing extra needs to be done.

The message means that the package can’t be pre-configured before its installation, because apt-extracttemplates is missing. Nothing bad happens as a result, and the package does end up being configured correctly.

In more detail, when apt-extracttemplates (part of apt-utils) isn’t present, this is what happens:

  • apt builds up the set of packages to be installed, removed, etc.;
  • dpkg is invoked to perform the actual change;
  • each package is extracted, and its maintainer scripts are run, including any configuration; in interactive mode, this can result in multiple questions being asked throughout installation.

When apt-extracttemplates is present, package configuration can instead be performed early in the dpkg run, before the packages are even extracted; this allows any questions to be asked ahead of time, and then installation can proceed without human intervention.

In a container context, installations are supposed to proceed in noninteractive mode anyway, so pre-extracting configuration templates offers no benefit and apt-utils isn’t useful. apt-utils’s purpose is described in its package description:

This package contains some less used commandline utilities related to package management with APT.

  • apt-extracttemplates is used by debconf to prompt for configuration questions before installation.
  • apt-ftparchive is used to create Packages and other index files needed to publish an archive of Debian packages
  • apt-sortpkgs is a Packages/Sources file normalizer.

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