I'm (still) on Debian Squeeze. When I try to upgrade the system, here's what I get:

[09:20]/root# aptitude upgrade
No packages will be installed, upgraded, or removed.
0 packages upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 1 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B of archives. After unpacking 0 B will be used.

Looking at the log, I get a hint at the name of the culprit package:

Aptitude 0.6.3: log report
Sat, Jun 22 2013 09:20:13 +0200

IMPORTANT: this log only lists intended actions; actions which fail due to
dpkg problems may not be completed.

Will install 0 packages, and remove 0 packages.
[HOLD] libxcb1

Log complete.

However, if I look at the package, I don't get any more details:

[09:21]/root# aptitude show libxcb1
Package: libxcb1
State: installed
Automatically installed: no
Version: 1.6-1
Priority: optional
Section: libs
Maintainer: XCB Developers <[email protected]>
Uncompressed Size: 188 k
Depends: libc6 (>= 2.3.2), libxau6, libxdmcp6
Breaks: libxcb-xlib0

I'm surprised by how little info aptitude is giving me about its refusal to upgrade the package.

My question is: What are the steps I should follow in this situation to find out why this package is not upgraded?

Update: Here's the desired command:

$ apt-cache policy libxcb1
  Installed: 1.6-1
  Candidate: 1.6-1+squeeze1
  Version table:
     1.6-1+squeeze1 0
        500 http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates/main amd64 Packages
 *** 1.6-1 0
        500 http://debian.mirrors.ovh.net/debian/ squeeze/main amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
  • Can it be that your sources.list still points to the squeeze repos?
    – Joseph R.
    Jun 22, 2013 at 8:32
  • Yes it does. I haven't moved to Wheezy yet. Is it relevant?
    – rahmu
    Jun 22, 2013 at 8:58
  • 2
    Run apt-cache policy libxcb1 and paste the output. I think aptitude respects apt pinning. You could also try running apt-get install libxcbi and see what happens. Jun 22, 2013 at 10:55
  • @rahmu of course it is! When you run apt-get upgrade, apt-get compares the state of the packages on your system against the state of the packages in your chosen repo. See my answer below.
    – Joseph R.
    Jun 22, 2013 at 15:04
  • Use apt-get dist-upgrade is an immediate, yet radical solution to your problem. I actually post to quote: "In case of doubt, please use the apt-get and apt-cache commands over the aptitude command." [debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-reference/…
    – Bananguin
    Jun 22, 2013 at 17:59

1 Answer 1


You need to know why aptitude doesn't want to install that version of the package, with a quick why-not you can figure this out:

aptitude why-not libxcb1=1.6-1+squeeze1

But my guess is that one of the 79 reverse dependencies depended of the 1.6-1 version of the package, since there isn't any packages that breaks/conflicts with this library.

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