How to safely remove PPA Repository from Ubuntu

We sometimes find what we are looking for while searching for something completely different. This happened to me recently. I was searching for a way to  fix some graphic performance issues being experienced on kubuntu, when I stumbled upon (no pun intended) a packaged named ppa-purge. The name is self explanatory and it sounded like something that a dude like me who can be on the bleeding edge at times would need. I went on to install it. Like the name suggests, ppa-purge allows you to easy remove a PPA from your repository sources.

There’s a PPA for that
PPA is means Personal Package Archive. It provides a way to easily install application which can not be found in the Ubuntu official repository on Ubuntu ( since the Ubuntu official repo takes a conservative approach to updates and number of applications it includes in its official repository with focus on stability over latest and greatest packages.) PPA is one of the coolest thing about Ubuntu. It creates an avenue for developers, packagers and even users to create their own personal repositories and include their packages which can easily be added and installed on Ubuntu.

The down-side of all these is that most of the applications contained in a PPA can be quite too bleeding edge and not as well tested as  what comes with the Ubuntu repos, so the users would sometimes want to revert back to the official Ubuntu packages. This is where PPA-Purge comes in handy

PPA-PURGE:    ppa-purge will reset all packages from a PPA to the standard versions released for your distribution.  So basically its like a way to restore your system back to the way it was before you installed packages from a PPA.

Installation: ppa-purge is very easy to install. You can grab a deb executable file directly from the web page of the xorg-edgers repository

Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)

Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)

Usage

ppa-purge is very easy to use.How this works is e.g If I wanted to remove say the blueman PPA I just go to terminal and paste the following

sudo ppa-purge ppa:blueman/ppa/

A break down of how this work is

sudo ppa-purge ppa:repository-name/subdirectory

e.g ‘deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/blueman/ppa/ubuntu karmic main’ the part in bold is the part you need to add to

sudo ppa-purge ppa:

to make it

sudo ppa-purge ppa:blueman/ppa

I actually tried the tool after I installed the xorg-edger repository to see if it would solve my graphic display issues, unfortunately it only made things worse, thankfully I was able to use ppa-purge to remove the PPA and reset (downgrade) my packages back to the default version on karmic.

So there you have it. You can go on installing all the latest and greatest packages using the Ubuntu PPA. knowing full well you have something to fall back on. I hope someone finds this useful.

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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  • warenli

    It is certainly tip. Thanks for posting the description.

    • / bigbrovar

      Thanks, am glad you found it useful

  • Stephen Wilson

    Actually, the Karmic deb will not install. I get a message about broken dependencies, but no details about what is broken exactly.

    • / bigbrovar

      Weird because In have it install fine on my kubuntu karmic. I will try it on a fresh ubuntu karmic life cd and get back to you.

    • / bigbrovar

      I just tried it on a ubuntu karmic live CD and it installed without any dependency issue. I think its a problem with your system, but the package

  • ethnopunk

    Been looking for this, with nagging doubts about the new ppa method which might be faster but doesn't give users much control. Thanks. Wish there was a GUI.

    • / bigbrovar

      The new way for adding ppa is really meant to make the process easier for new users. I still prefer the old way though. about the GUI. it would be nice to have a gui.. but I always prefer the commandline anyway.. I find it faster :)

      • some_kid

        There is a GUI. Its in the software center. Software Center > Edit > Software Sources > Other Software

        • http://twitter.com/tastycat Connor Collins

          This^ is the most useful comment about removing PPAs on the entire Internet.  

          If everyone read this comment first, nobody ould have to care where to download ppa-purge, and it doesn’t matter that I can’t get ppa-purge to remove anything anyway.

          There is a GUI, and you can just go select the PPA you don’t want and click remove.  It’s way easier than anything else, and you (probably) already have the required software installed if you’re using Ubuntu.

          • Inusaito

            That doesn’t remove packages installed from the repository, only removes the repository itself…

  • ethnopunk

    CLI might be quicker if you know exactly what it is that you want to do, but what if you don't know which ppa it is that you want to move? A GUI would allow one to browse the ppa installed on the system. In fact a better way of doing all of this would be great. Current method is cumbersome. I have a sources.list with 20 extra ppas, and then there are the ppas installed via the new method, so it's all split up. WIsh there was a more holistic consolidation which gave us icons and other information for each ppa. Maybe Synaptic needs an overhaul?

  • jacob finstein

    Arigatto this was very helpful! I am having graphics problem (radeon driver doesn't render gnomenu correctly) so this really helps!

  • cnfss

    I appreciate this, I’ve tried the same, with the x-updates ppa, because of the x-crashes… but when I reboot the pc, no x started (huge-humongous-crash :P )

    Thank you very much!!

  • JetPac

    This saved my butt. digiKam working again. BIT THANKS! :-)

  • Emeris

    Thanks, this was super useful!

  • kadzany

    Nice tutorial, thanks.
    Do you have any idea how about purging from mirrored ppa?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bimal-Rekhadiya/1209363099 Bimal Rekhadiya

    This is what I was searching.. thanks

  • Alsnaani

    thanks , its useful

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NWJDJJQVMO5MWEZZVP54AW6JQM zugita

    btw..where can I download ppa-purge ?

    • http://twitter.com/espectalll123 Francisco Gómez

      sudo apt-get is the same as downloading and installing the app. Welcome to the world of Ubuntu!

  • http://andrewcurrie.ca Andrew

    This came in very handy for me yesterday. Thanks!

  • Yure Kitten

    Thank you!

  • Silvana from Argentina

    I had the same problem with xorg-edgers :s but I can’t uninstall whit ppa-purge, look:

    sudo ppa-purge ppa:xorg-edgersUpdating packages listsPPA to be removed: ppa:xorg-edgers ppa:xorg-edgersWarning:  Could not find package list for PPA: ppa:xorg-edgers ppa:xorg-edgers

    I don’t know what to do :s help please :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.kelem Steve Kelem

     I am unable to install ppa-purge on Ubuntu 12.04 on an x86_64. I get:
    % apt-get install ppa-purge
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree      
    Reading state information… Done
    You might want to run ‘apt-get -f install’ to correct these:
    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
     gvfs : Depends: gvfs-libs (= 1.12.1-0ubuntu1.1) but 1.12.1-0ubuntu1 is to be installed
     gvfs-backends : Depends: gvfs-libs (= 1.12.1-0ubuntu1.1) but 1.12.1-0ubuntu1 is to be installed
     gvfs-bin : Depends: gvfs-common (= 1.12.1-0ubuntu1) but 1.12.1-0ubuntu1.1 is to be installed
     gvfs-daemons : Depends: gvfs-libs (= 1.12.1-0ubuntu1.1) but 1.12.1-0ubuntu1 is to be installed
     gvfs-libs : Depends: gvfs-common (= 1.12.1-0ubuntu1) but 1.12.1-0ubuntu1.1 is to be installed
     libc6 : Depends: libc-bin (= 2.15-0ubuntu10.3) but 2.11.3-4 is to be installed
     libc6-dev : Depends: libc6 (= 2.15-0ubuntu10.2) but 2.15-0ubuntu10.3 is to be installed
                 Breaks: gcc-4.4-base (< 4.4.6-3ubuntu1) but 4.4.5-8 is to be installed
     libc6-i386 : Depends: libc6 (= 2.15-0ubuntu10.2) but 2.15-0ubuntu10.3 is to be installed
     libsqlite3-dev : Depends: libsqlite3-0 (= 3.7.9-2ubuntu1.1) but 3.7.13-1~bpo60+1 is to be installed
     ppa-purge : Depends: aptitude but it is not going to be installed
     sqlite3 : Depends: libsqlite3-0 (= 3.7.9-2ubuntu1.1) but 3.7.13-1~bpo60+1 is to be installed
     wine1.4 : Depends: wine1.4-i386 (= 1.4-0ubuntu4.1) but it is not installable
               Recommends: winbind but it is not going to be installed
    E: Unmet dependencies. Try 'apt-get -f install' with no packages (or specify a solution).

    I get the same message if I try 'apt-get -f install'.

    Any ideas on what to do to fix this?

    Thanks for any help you can give,
    Steve

  • Aaron Newton

    I love RedShift. I did notice that  ppa:jonls/redshift-ppa seems to have gone bad and was throwing some errors during `apt-get update`.

  • http://twitter.com/swapnilnarendra Swapnil Narendra

    This article really helped me today. Purged some ppa which was annoying me after I installed it earlier today. THANKS A TON MAN !!!