back to article A new version of APT is coming to Debian 12

The forthcoming "Bookworm" release of Debian, version 12, will include a new version of the APT packaging tools, with better handling of non-free software. Debian releases are given code names from the Toy Story series of movies; Bookworm, if you're curious, was a "minor antagonist" from Toy Story 3. Debian 13 will be Trixie, …

  1. Bitsminer Silver badge


    Hands up everyone who saw "Advanced Persistent Threat" for APT.....

    1. Robigus

      Re: APT

      I saw a crap leaning train.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: APT

        Not that crap. BR just gave up too early, before they got the bugs out. The technology was sold to the Italians who developed it into the Pendolino, later bought by Virgin for the West Coast Mainline.

        1. Robigus

          Re: APT

          Thanks for that.

          It’s interesting that I know nothing about it, but have the impression it’s “crap”.

          I contacted a friend of similar vintage and mentioned it. He thought it was “crap” too, at least, that was what he “remembered”.

          It goes to show, I know not what, but it shows it anyway.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: APT

            BR APT development was late and they were worried about losing government funding to the rival, but slower, HST (IC 125) project, so they started service with prototypes and lots of hype. It was a media disaster, small problems like water freezing in air lines meant that brakes froze on, doors wouldn't open. A month after launch the trains were a laughing stock and were withdrawn.

            They came back quietly a couple of years later, working well, but by then the government was afraid to spend taxpayers' money on them when HST was already in service, so the whole thing was cancelled and the technology sold.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: APT

      Yes. APT is Advanced Persistent Threat, apt is a Debian command. Command lines are case sensitive.

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge


        APT = Advanced Package Tool. A. P. T.


  2. FirstTangoInParis Bronze badge

    Ubuntu video drivers

    So having spent a while recently rebuilding some previously loved laptops with Xubuntu, I find that trying to install Nvidia's Linux drivers is a step too far. For the Windows variant, you just download the app and off you go. The Linux version bleats that X is running, and one must perform half of the magic from Lord of the Rings before you can then install said drivers, young Frodo. Surely it's not beyond the wit of Nvidia to work around this, maybe by setting something to run once when you reboot the laptop? I decided my life was too short for all that faff, and nouveau would have to do. Even ticking the 'non-free software' box during install doesn't grab said drivers.

    How about it, hmm, Nvidia?

    1. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

      Re: Ubuntu video drivers

      Linux Torvalds gave the finger to Nvidia. How about it, Torvalds?

    2. Nate Amsden

      Re: Ubuntu video drivers

      Been using ubuntu with Nvidia for close to 15 years. It's always just worked for me. Though have not used bleeding edge Nvidia chips. Was Nvidia not included at all in xubuntu?(never used it). Normally I think Ubuntu fires up with noveau driver then its a few mouse clicks to enable the commercial nvidia driver. Ubuntu automatically downloads and installs it.

      Or maybe whatever card you have was too new for the drivers that was included. Probably was around 2008 for the last time I manually downloaded and installed the Nvidia drivers. And at that time I just installed them and let them overwrite whatever to get things working. It was easy at the time just download the driver which itself was a self executing installer and it prompted you through the process. Unsure if that has changed since.

      Been using Nvidia on linux almost exclusively since about 1999.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ubuntu video drivers

        Or maybe whatever card you have was too new for the drivers ...

        Hmm ....

        @Liam Proven: not necessarily so.

        Or maybe Nvidia decided to mothball the drivers for the perfectly working set of Quadro FX cards you have in your box ...

        There you go.

        Nvidia first re-labels them "legacy drivers" and after a couple of years, drops support for them.

        I paid through the nose for the two Quadro FX580 cards inside my Sun WS.

        They have worked perfectly well and will (most probably) continue to do so as long as there are Linux drivers for them to run on.

        It's not spinning rust so I will only replace them if they go south.

        But not with Nvidia hardware: I will never purchase Nvidia hardware again.

        Of course, YMMV.


      2. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Ubuntu video drivers

        I've got an old GTX-1060. The HOWTO said to install the nvidia-detect package, run that, and it would tell you what card it thought you had and which package to install to support it.

        It told me to install the plain-vanilla nvidia-driver meta-package, which works fine.

        apt is what switched me off RedHat in the days of Debian Potato. I'd had it with "RPM dependency hell" and a friend showed me how it figured out all the dependencies and updates needed and then automatically downloaded them. Put me in a state of shock.

        We'll see what graphics card I need when KSP 2 decides to support Linux again.

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Ubuntu video drivers

      Just how "previously loved" are these laptops?

      If they are older than a certain age, then you may find that the driver you need for the GPU in the laptop has been removed from the current binary driver that Nvidia make available for Ubuntu. I've come across this problem more than once over the years.

      Nvidia decide that you should not be using their older hardware, which is a real problem for laptops where you can't just pop out the graphics adaptor and install a new one.

      They do normally tell you in their info about their universal driver which cards are still supported. The release notes are normally referenced in the long description for the package that can be seen in Synaptic (not sure about the Software Centre).

      If you don't want to use Nouveau, then you may find that installing the older Nvidia packages from the version you're running, or even from an older Ubuntu repo. may actually allow you to get it working, but it's quite a faff, adding an older repo. and then installing the driver you need, and then holding the package so that it will not be automatically upgraded.

    4. Marcelo Rodrigues

      Re: Ubuntu video drivers

      "...I find that trying to install Nvidia's Linux drivers is a step too far"

      I can't speak for everyone (and every Distro) else, but

      I've run OpenSuse since 9.3

      All I have always had to do is enable the "NVidia package repository". And that's it. The system downloads and installs the drivers for me. Easy and simple. Don´t have to compile something, don't have to run some CLI arcane thing. Just fill a checkmark and Bob's your uncle.

    5. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Ubuntu video drivers

      [Author here]

      > one must perform half of the magic from Lord of the Rings before you can then install said drivers

      So you downloaded the drivers from the nVidia website, then?

      That is sometimes necessary, but it's not the easiest way to do it.

      That is to run the "Software & Drivers" tool, let it detect your card, and pick the driver from a list. Then just wait a bit 'til it's done -- they're big -- then reboot.

      If you prefer to use the shell, then Ubuntu includes metapackages for the drivers which will do it for you.

      `apt search nvidia` will get you started.

      Then `apt search nvidia-driver` to narrow it down a bit. You need to know what version you need for your specific GPU model. Google will help, but that's why the GUI tool is easier.

      Then `apt install nvidia-driver-390` for my old Thinkpad GPU, for instance.

      Wait a bit, then reboot. Done.

      Or just Google for how to do it:



      You picked the hardest way to do it, which is the Windows way. Don't rely on Windows knowledge on Linux. The Windows way is usually the worst way.

      As a general rule, never go to a website, download a binary, and then run it. That is a Windows-ism and it's a terrible idea, because you are trusting unknown untested 3rd party code on your computer. That's a bad idea and that Windows encourages it has been disastrous for the whole computer industry.

      Always choose something from your vendor's repositories first, from preference. Failing that, an external repository.

      I'm sorry to have to say it but you made a rod for your own back here by choosing to try the hardest, worst way first. :-(

  3. Frank Zuiderduin

    Not an apt change

    Adding non-free firmware is not an apt change. Just a debian change.

  4. captain veg Silver badge

    apt is great

    I've never needed it to play nice with proprietary BLOBs on my PCs.

    For me, it's mostly for installing applications, not system components.

    On Mint there's a thingy ("Driver Manager") that tries to work out whether I might be better off with non-free trojans, but so far it hasn't been so.

    At work I'm responsible for a workstation with nVidia silicon that we require to do complex arithmetic. The desired acceleration doesn't work without the right nVidia BLOB in place. It has a good go, but APT struggles here. So, against better judgment, I downloaded the DEBs and assumed personal responsibility for keeping them up to date.

    It sucks.


    1. LionelB Silver badge

      Re: apt is great

      That wouldn't by any chance be CUDA-related, would it? I've personally experienced a world of pain trying to find the magic driver version that actually allows CUDA support to function for my particular hardware. Hint: it's quite likely not to be the latest version, nor the one your system tools recommend. And it's also likely to break other stuff.

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: apt is great

        > That wouldn't by any chance be CUDA-related, would it?



  5. jilocasin

    welcome home....

    It's great to see the Debian team finally embrace reality. It would have been nicer without all of these proprietary blobs, but you have to play the hand you are dealt.

    With any luck this will allow many more systems to "just work" after installing Debian. Folks will no longer feel that they must remain shackled to the whims of commercial companies for their OS.

    Like the father of the prodigal child, Debian stands on the road to to say;

    "Welcome Home"

    1. jilocasin

      Re: welcome home.... (clarification)

      when I wrote:

      "It would have been nicer without all of these proprietary blobs..."

      I was referring to end user hardware, not Debian images. It's a shame that companies are tying to save a few pennies by using blobs, and too paranoid to release the contents of them since they are using blobs.

      I'ts great that the Debian community has finally accepted that if it wants to be more approachable to the vast majority of computer users out there it had to start including these hardware blobs.

  6. Caesarius

    Wasn't this the whole point with microprocessors?

    "it's cheaper to use a non-dedicated, general-purpose chip, running some small specialized program to enable it to do its job"

    But no problems. Just saying.

  7. DuncanLarge Silver badge


    Non-free firmware installed as standard?

    I'm off then. I've managed to avoid it all this time, none of my hardware needs it. Time to head off to a better distro after all these years.

    I've been thinking of moving anyway. Stuck with Debian since around 2005 I think, time for pastures new. One of my main gripes was the ingrowing systemd dependencies.

    Its time to move to GUIX...

    1. amacater

      Re: Crap

      Non-free firmware *offered* as standard. This means, amongst other things, that WiFI stands a chance of working out of the box. if you're visually impaired, it means that the speech installer might speak to you on a modern Intel laptop. It's still being finalised - Debian Bookworm should hit another freeze round about today - but the way it's meant to happen is that the installer will use non-free firmware to get your Linux installed then offer you the option to uninstall any non-free firmware used in the install. This would leave you in the same position as having installed Debian using only fully free software.

      It moves Debian to where Ubuntu and Red Hat and OpenSUSE have been for years, I think. It is an acknowledgement of reality that people need to be able to install Debian but it's not really an abandonment of Free Software ideals. We'd still much rather have fully free software - but after 30 years, it's getting harder not easier.

      Note: This also makes it easier to divest yourself of non-free software other than firmware. You no longer have to potentially open your machine to all the non-free software offered in non-free, it is quite OK to have a /etc/apt/sources.list with just main and non-free-firmware for Debian 12 (Bookworm). See also

      Running it here on three machines: I'd suggest that anyone who wants to tries out the Bookworm Alpha 2 .iso will find it at

      Full disclosure: I work in the team testing Debian media for each point release - this makes it easier rather than harder for real people to install Debian.

  8. Steve Graham

    But hasn't non-free software always been available in the Debian repos? I used Debian from pre-1.0 days until moving to Devuan to avoid systemd. If I count the packages now with "nonfree" or "non-free" in their one-line description, there are 27 hits.

    $ apt-cache search ""|grep -c "nonfree\|non-free"

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