A few years ago I switched from Linux Mint to Debian and noticed that there seem to be two perhaps competing 'software and update' programs in the gui. The one looks like this:

softare and update program 1

and the other like this: software and update program 2

I tend to use the first one over the second one but have always wondered why there are more than one. Maybe I installed one of them at one point but no longer know which one is better or if there is a difference.

In particular, how can you 'tame' the first one. Lets say I want to install just the 'Betriebsysstemaktualisierungen' / operating system updates but avoid the Thunderbird update to 78.7.0 Is there a way to take control of that program so it does not force updates on you which you don't want? How can you tell it to leave you alone about updates to say, Thunderbird?

In the past I suffered due to a forced update from thunderbird 68 to 78 and feel that one of the main benefits of linux and open source over Windows is that you can control the machine more rather than it being controlled from elsewhere with forced updates.

  • Do you need a GUI to setup your requirement (prevent thunderbird update)? APT settings allow you to forget about updates for some packages but it requires editing some file in /etc/apt/.
    – kaliko
    Feb 5 at 12:09
  • 1
    or for a specific case, usually temporary, using apt-mark could do the job
    – A.B
    Feb 5 at 12:48
  • Use the command line programs apt-get or apt or aptitude. Frontends don't work reliably, and are generally more trouble than they are worth. Feb 6 at 18:27
  • @kaliko how do you keep your linux updated then, without a gui? Do you have to then type something in periodically or does it just do something by itself without a gui.. I am not addicted to having a gui but that was what linux mint automatically did and so I did not ever think to do it otherwise. /etc/apt/ is full of all kinds of stuff, some subdirectories /etc/apt/preferences.d/ which is empty and /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/ which has ten files in it apt-mark does look good @A.B I will test it @Faheem-mitha so you also use no gui for updating then.. If you also don't then I better stop too.
    – cardamom
    Feb 6 at 19:53
  • 1
    @cardamom I keep my laptop updated with plain apt command (in case of doubt I fire aptitude to inspect the situation). For non-interactive use I configure unattended-upgrades which keep my servers updated (security mainly but you can follow regular update and point releases update as well). Regarding apt config in /etc/apt the wiki exposes some configuration to tweak possible cadidates for upgrades.
    – kaliko
    Feb 7 at 18:28

I ran this in a terminal :

sudo apt-mark hold thunderbird

as @A.B suggested and initially there was no change to the gui screenshots as above but after a restart, the suggestion to upgrade thunderbird to 78.7.0 had gone away. Fantastic, it won't force an update on me again!

I had a play with the following two:

apt-mark showauto
apt-mark showmanual

and believe that that top gui is something I installed gnome-software which could be safely uninstalled.

That other gui is probably part of Debian, but am not sure exactly what it is, it has no 'about' section which tells you what it is. Under 'Other Software' it lists non-debian repositories of installed packages and under authentifizierung, keys which have signed certain software. I think it installed itself with Debian and should probably stay there not be removed.

Have learned that to undo the above if desired one day,

sudo apt-mark unhold thunderbird

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