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CompTIA Linux+ XK0-005 - 1.7 - Updating Configuration Files: /etc/apt/apt.conf

When working with package managers on Linux systems, such as APT (Advanced Package Tool), you may need to modify the repository configuration files to customize the package sources and their behavior. One of the commonly used configuration files is /etc/apt/apt.conf, which allows you to control various aspects of the APT package manager.

In this guide, we will explore the /etc/apt/apt.conf file and its configuration options. We'll discuss how to modify these options to customize the behavior of APT and meet specific requirements.

The /etc/apt/apt.conf does not exist so will need creating if there are any configurations you require setting that are not the defaults.

Configuration Options and Their Functionality

The /etc/apt/apt.conf file contains configuration options in the form of key-value pairs. Each option influences a specific aspect of APT's behavior. Here are some common configuration options you may encounter:

  • Acquire::http::Proxy:

    • Purpose: Specifies the HTTP proxy server to use for APT package downloads.
    • Example: Acquire::http::Proxy "";
  • APT::Get::Assume-Yes:

    • Purpose: Automatically answers "yes" to all prompts during package installation or removal, without requiring user confirmation.
    • Example: APT::Get::Assume-Yes "true";
  • APT::Get::Download-Only:

    • Purpose: Instructs APT to download packages without installing them.
    • Example: APT::Get::Download-Only "true";
  • APT::Get::Show-Upgraded:

    • Purpose: Displays a list of upgraded packages after performing an upgrade operation.
    • Example: APT::Get::Show-Upgraded "true";
  • APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists:

    • Purpose: Controls automatic package list update. If set to "1", APT will automatically update the package lists at regular intervals.
    • Example: APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1";

These are just a few examples of configuration options available in /etc/apt/apt.conf. The file provides a wide range of customization possibilities, allowing you to fine-tune the behavior of APT according to your specific needs.

Modifying the Configuration Options

To modify the configuration options in /etc/apt/apt.conf, follow these steps:

  1. Open the /etc/apt/apt.conf file using a text editor of your choice. For example:
sudo vi /etc/apt/apt.conf
  1. Locate the desired configuration option within the file or add it if it does not exist.

  2. Modify or set the value associated with the configuration option according to your requirements.

  3. Save the changes and exit the text editor.


The /etc/apt/apt.conf file plays a crucial role in customizing the behavior of APT, allowing you to control various aspects of the package manager's operation. By understanding the available configuration options and their functionality, you can tailor APT to suit your specific needs.

In this guide, we discussed some common configuration options found in /etc/apt/apt.conf and their purposes. We also provided instructions on how to modify these options to customize APT's behavior.

Remember to exercise caution when modifying the /etc/apt/apt.conf file, as incorrect changes can lead to unexpected behavior. It is recommended to create backups of configuration files before making any modifications.

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