I need to automatically install a package with its config file already present on the server.

I'm looking for something like:

apt-get install --yes --force-yes --keep-current-confs mysql-server

Probably a dumb question but I can't find such an option.


Found the answer on Raphael Hertzog's Blog :

apt-get install -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confold" --force-yes -y mysql-server

It's dpkg's role to configure, therefore to chose which conf file to keep.


On current ubuntu systems you need a bit more:

export DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive ; apt-get dist-upgrade -y -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confdef" -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confold" --force-yes
  • Silly question: why do you specify two seemingly mutually exclusive options at the same time? confdef vs confold? If this really works that's surely just a matter of the evaluation order? Not that I tried it ... – tink May 25 '16 at 19:56
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    "--force-confold: do not modify the current configuration file, the new version is installed with a .dpkg-dist suffix. With this option alone, even configuration files that you have not modified are left untouched. You need to combine it with --force-confdef to let dpkg overwrite configuration files that you have not modified." – Craig Francis Aug 14 '17 at 11:58
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    --force-yes should be used as a last resort as it has the opportunity to break your system! Please visit this mange page for details on using the --allow switches. – Steven Mar 1 '18 at 16:58

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