Keep current version of config files when apt-get install on Debian

Posted on January 18, 2019 at 10:44 am

To automatically keep current config files when doing apt-get install on Debian:

apt-get install nginx -y -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confdef" -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confold"

You can find more info on Raphael Hertzog’s Blog.

Here are more info about –force-confold and –force-confdef:

confold: If a conffile has been modified and the version in the package did change,
always  keep  the old version without prompting, unless the --force-confdef is also
specified, in which case the default action is preferred.
 
confdef: If a conffile has been modified and the version in the package did change,
always  choose  the default action without prompting. If there is no default action
it will stop to ask the user unless --force-confnew or --force-confold is also been
given, in which case it will use that to decide the final action.

Other conf* options are here:

Ubuntu Manpage: dpkg – package manager for Debian

If a package (i.e php7.3-fpm from Sury) has interactive questions, use this:

export DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive; apt-get install php7.3-fpm -y -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confdef" -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confold"

Some tutorials online suggest to use also “–force-yes” but:

Force yes; this is a dangerous option that will cause apt to continue without 
prompting if it is doing something potentially harmful. It should not be 
used except in very special situations.

So we don’t recommend to use it! More info here:

apt-get(8) — apt — Debian stretch — Debian Manpages

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