So, in order to prevent console-UI (newt, snack, dialog) prompts during the dpkg post-install, you have to do something like:

debconf-set-selections <<< 'mysql-server mysql-server/root_password password password'
debconf-set-selections <<< 'mysql-server mysql-server/root_password_again password verify_password'
apt-get -y install mysql-server
  • Is there a rule for this?
  • How do we discover the prompt names/descriptors for other packages that invoke the console UI in order to prevent them?
  • Would we likely have to dig through the source-code to figure out how the prompts are invoked?
  • Is there a simple way to just choose all defaults (effectively clicking on whatever the default button would be and/or taking the correct text/options)?



It looks like setting this variable is the solution for taking the defaults:

  • If it is, please add it as an answer and accept it :)
    – Daniel
    May 14, 2016 at 8:35
  • @Daniel There are four separate questions and I just noted the answer to the least of them. May 14, 2016 at 14:35

1 Answer 1


This will reconfigure your package with default parameters:

DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive dpkg-reconfigure [package name]

This will display parameters you set when installing a package:

debconf-show [package name]

This will output parameters you set when installing a package, formatted to be loaded in debconf-set-selections:

debconf-get-selections | grep '^[package name]'

To my knowledge, you can't display parameters for packages you didn't install; and you can't display default parameters without first re-configuring your package using the noninteractive option. You may want to use containers for testing purpose.

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