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debconf-apt-progress - Man Page

install packages using debconf to display a progress bar


 debconf-apt-progress [--] command [args ...]
 debconf-apt-progress --config
 debconf-apt-progress --start
 debconf-apt-progress --from waypoint --to waypoint [--] command [args ...]
 debconf-apt-progress --stop


debconf-apt-progress installs packages using debconf to display a progress bar. The given command should be any command-line apt frontend; specifically, it must send progress information to the file descriptor selected by the APT::Status-Fd configuration option, and must keep the file descriptors nominated by the APT::Keep-Fds configuration option open when invoking debconf (directly or indirectly), as those file descriptors will be used for the debconf passthrough protocol.

The arguments to the command you supply should generally include -y (for apt-get or aptitude) or similar to avoid the apt frontend prompting for input. debconf-apt-progress cannot do this itself because the appropriate argument may differ between apt frontends.

The --start, --stop, --from, and --to options may be used to create a progress bar with multiple segments for different stages of installation, provided that the caller is a debconf confmodule. The caller may also interact with the progress bar itself using the debconf protocol if it so desires.

debconf locks its config database when it starts up, which makes it unfortunately inconvenient to have one instance of debconf displaying the progress bar and another passing through questions from packages being installed. If you're using a multiple-segment progress bar, you'll need to eval the output of the --config option before starting the debconf frontend to work around this. See "Examples" in the Examples section below.



Print environment variables necessary to start up a progress bar frontend.


Start up a progress bar, running from 0 to 100 by default. Use --from and --to to use other endpoints.

--from waypoint

If used with --start, make the progress bar begin at waypoint rather than 0.

Otherwise, install packages with their progress bar beginning at this "waypoint". Must be used with --to.

--to waypoint

If used with --start, make the progress bar end at waypoint rather than 100.

Otherwise, install packages with their progress bar ending at this "waypoint". Must be used with --from.


Stop a running progress bar.


Avoid starting, stopping, or stepping the progress bar. Progress messages from apt, media change events, and debconf questions will still be passed through to debconf.

--dlwaypoint percentage

Specify what percent of the progress bar to use for downloading packages. The remainder will be used for installing packages. The default is to use 15% for downloading and the remaining 85% for installing.

--logfile file

Send the normal output from apt to the given file.


Send the normal output from apt to stderr. If you supply neither --logfile nor --logstderr, the normal output from apt will be discarded.


Terminate options. Since you will normally need to give at least the -y argument to the command being run, you will usually need to use -- to prevent that being interpreted as an option to debconf-apt-progress itself.


Install the GNOME desktop and an X window system development environment within a progress bar:

 debconf-apt-progress -- aptitude -y install gnome x-window-system-dev

Install the GNOME, KDE, and XFCE desktops within a single progress bar, allocating 45% of the progress bar for each of GNOME and KDE and the remaining 10% for XFCE:

 #! /bin/sh
 set -e
 case $1 in
     eval "$(debconf-apt-progress --config)"
     "$0" debconf
     . /usr/share/debconf/confmodule
     debconf-apt-progress --start
     debconf-apt-progress --from 0 --to 45 -- apt-get -y install gnome
     debconf-apt-progress --from 45 --to 90 -- apt-get -y install kde
     debconf-apt-progress --from 90 --to 100 -- apt-get -y install xfce4
     debconf-apt-progress --stop

Return Code

The exit code of the specified command is returned, unless the user hit the cancel button on the progress bar. If the cancel button was hit, a value of 30 is returned. To avoid ambiguity, if the command returned 30, a value of 3 will be returned.


Colin Watson <cjwatson@debian.org>

Joey Hess <joeyh@debian.org>


2024-06-07 Debconf