After installing a package with apt-get and then overwriting some package specific config files, whenever the system upgrades itself it tries to overwrite my custom configs with the package default ones.

Is there a better way to specific custom configs without being asked if I want to reset to the default ones whenever the package updates itself?

  • Any Debian package that follows the Debian policy will not overwrite files under /etc without prompting you to make the change, assuming you are updating interactively and haven't changed the default dpkg behavior. If you are changing files outside of the /etc/ directory then you might have problems, and there isn't a simple way to address this. Can you give some examples of specific packages/files that you have had problems with getting over-written? – Zoredache Dec 5 '13 at 22:37
  • @Zoredache: I'm being asked if I want to update my custom config files, but in a server where I don't login that often it can be easy to forget what/why was changed. Example packages include ngnix config files for instance. I wonder how Puppet or other devop utilities handle this. Ideally, I would want the config not to be overwritten unless there was a major change in the config file (new options, version or behavior) but I guess that is asking too much. – Alix Axel Dec 6 '13 at 8:51

You can pass options to dpkg from apt. Interesting for you would be the option --force-confold. The command looks like this:

apt-get -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confdef" -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confold" upgrade

Setting --force-confdef as well makes apt-get still update the config file if it hasn't been edited, while --force-confold will keep edited configuration files without asking.

To make this permanent, you can also set these options in your apt.conf file:

Dpkg::Options {

Check e.g. http://debian-handbook.info/browse/wheezy/sect.package-meta-information.html#sidebar.questions-conffiles

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