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Fixing Add/Remove Error in Ubuntu

If you’ve used Ubuntu, then you’d be aware that to install/uninstall new application you can resort to the graphical installer under Applications > Add/Remove. This installer allows you to browse through repositories of software, search through them and install the ones you want.

So when Kinshuk mentioned that he was facing a problem with Ubuntu’s Add/Remove application I thought I should go ahead and write this post because I faced this myself once. What happened with him is that when he started Add/Remove, he couldn’t see a single application listed under it and the all the categories were blank. Here’s how to solve this.

  1. Go to System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager. You’ll be prompted to enter your password. Do so. Note that the problem (no software listed) affects only Add/Remove and not Synaptic.
  2. Search for the application gnome-app-install. Right-click and choose Mark for Complete Removal. This will prompt you that some other packages will be uninstalled too. Agree to that.
  3. Click Apply. After that is completed, search out gnome-app-install again and install it.
  4. At third base now, just a bit more to go for the home run. Remember those packages which were removed earlier? You need to install them again. This is to ensure that you can carry out upgrades smoothly in the future since one of these is a meta package which handles that. Search out, and choose to install these packages:
    1. apturl – This allows your browser to handle apt:// protocol links and launch the application installer when you click on such a link in your browser.
    2. ubufox – Modifications Ubuntu makes to Firefox. You could leave this out, but I suggest you install it because leaving it out can cause problems during upgrade in the future.
    3. ubuntu-desktop – A meta package listing software bundled with Ubuntu. Keep this in for smooth upgrades.
  5. Reload your repositories. Click the Reload button in Synaptic Package Manager.

Done! Go to Add/Remove again and you’ll find that software listing and categories have been restored. I didn’t come across a bug report in Launchpad for this, and I’d forgotten to take screenshots so I didn’t file one. Maybe if one you who come across this post while searching on the Internet for a solution could take a screenshot and file a bug report before rectifying the error?

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