On Pop!_OS, I'm trying to remove an apt package that's marked as "essential". I understand the consequences and know how to make sure I'll still be able to use my system afterward. In examples and documentation about this online, it says all I'd have to do is type Yes, do as I say! into apt, but instead of getting prompted to do that, I just get this message:

This operation is not permitted because it will break the system.

This is my own system, so I shouldn't need permission to remove whatever packages I want and then deal with the consequences myself. How can I bypass this?

3 Answers 3


The reason this happens on Pop!_OS is that they applied this patch to their version of apt. To bypass this block and get the normal behavior of apt from now on, do sudo touch /etc/apt/break-my-system.

  • So, this is the exact same thing as "Yes, do as I say!". That doesn't really fix anything.
    – Shodan
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 0:05
  • This is just another layer of preventing users from shooting at their legs. Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 9:00

For other OS than Pop!_OS, you can use Synaptic to remove essential package. It's a GUI based package manager. The apt blocks you to do that.

  1. Install synaptic.
sudo apt install synaptic
  1. Run synaptic.
sudo synaptic
  1. Right click on the package you want to remove and select "Mark for Removal".

  2. Click the "Apply" button.

  • Sorry but I just fail to understand how this answer would be of any help here. You write a possible solution "for other OS than Pop!_OS" when OP explicitly (as part of the title and question) mentioned Pop!_OS ???
    – MC68020
    Commented Mar 16 at 19:29
  • This one is a slow one but working. I have to find all the packages and have to delete them in many turns. Commented Mar 26 at 15:17

if this happens when you want to install new package i suggest update your system first and then try to install the package you want

by following commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

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