Puppet module to help manage Apt

apt, debian, ubuntu, dpkg, apt-get, aptitude, ppa
puppet module install puppetlabs-apt --version 8.0.2



Table of Contents

  1. Module Description - What the module does and why it is useful
  2. Setup - The basics of getting started with apt
  3. Usage - Configuration options and additional functionality
  4. Reference - An under-the-hood peek at what the module is doing and how
  5. Limitations - OS compatibility, etc.
  6. Development - Guide for contributing to the module

Module Description

The apt module lets you use Puppet to manage APT (Advanced Package Tool) sources, keys, and other configuration options.

APT is a package manager available on Debian, Ubuntu, and several other operating systems. The apt module provides a series of classes, defines, types, and facts to help you automate APT package management.

Note: Prior to Puppet 7, for this module to correctly autodetect which version of Debian/Ubuntu (or derivative) you're running, you need to make sure the lsb-release package is installed. With Puppet 7 the lsb-release package is not needed.


What apt affects

  • Your system's preferences file and preferences.d directory
  • Your system's sources.list file and sources.list.d directory
  • Your system's apt.conf.d directory
  • System repositories
  • Authentication keys

Note: This module offers purge parameters which, if set to true, destroy any configuration on the node's sources.list(.d), preferences(.d) and apt.conf.d that you haven't declared through Puppet. The default for these parameters is false.

Beginning with apt

To use the apt module with default parameters, declare the apt class.

include apt

Note: The main apt class is required by all other classes, types, and defined types in this module. You must declare it whenever you use the module.


Add GPG keys

Warning: Using short key IDs presents a serious security issue, potentially leaving you open to collision attacks. We recommend you always use full fingerprints to identify your GPG keys. This module allows short keys, but issues a security warning if you use them.

Declare the apt::key defined type:

apt::key { 'puppetlabs':
  id      => '6F6B15509CF8E59E6E469F327F438280EF8D349F',
  server  => 'pgp.mit.edu',
  options => 'http-proxy="http://proxyuser:proxypass@example.org:3128"',

Prioritize backports

class { 'apt::backports':
  pin => 500,

By default, the apt::backports class drops a pin file for backports, pinning it to a priority of 200. This is lower than the normal default of 500, so packages with ensure => latest don't get upgraded from backports without your explicit permission.

If you raise the priority through the pin parameter to 500, normal policy goes into effect and Apt installs or upgrades to the newest version. This means that if a package is available from backports, it and its dependencies are pulled in from backports unless you explicitly set the ensure attribute of the package resource to installed/present or a specific version.

Update the list of packages

By default, Puppet runs apt-get update on the first Puppet run after you include the apt class, and anytime notify => Exec['apt_update'] occurs; i.e., whenever config files get updated or other relevant changes occur. If you set update['frequency'] to 'always', the update runs on every Puppet run. You can also set update['frequency'] to 'daily' or 'weekly':

class { 'apt':
  update => {
    frequency => 'daily',

When Exec['apt_update'] is triggered, it generates a notice-level message. Because the default logging level for agents is notice, this causes the repository update to appear in agent logs. To silence these updates from the default log output, set the loglevel metaparameter for Exec['apt_update'] above the agent logging level:

class { 'apt':
  update => {
    frequency => 'daily',
    loglevel  => 'debug',

NOTE: Every Exec['apt_update'] run will generate a corrective change, even if the apt caches are not updated. For example, setting an update frequency of always can result in every Puppet run resulting in a corrective change. This is a known issue. For details, see MODULES-10763.

Pin a specific release

apt::pin { 'karmic': priority => 700 }
apt::pin { 'karmic-updates': priority => 700 }
apt::pin { 'karmic-security': priority => 700 }

You can also specify more complex pins using distribution properties:

apt::pin { 'stable':
  priority        => -10,
  originator      => 'Debian',
  release_version => '3.0',
  component       => 'main',
  label           => 'Debian'

To pin multiple packages, pass them to the packages parameter as an array or a space-delimited string.

Add a Personal Package Archive (PPA) repository

apt::ppa { 'ppa:drizzle-developers/ppa': }

Add an Apt source to /etc/apt/sources.list.d/

apt::source { 'debian_unstable':
  comment  => 'This is the iWeb Debian unstable mirror',
  location => 'http://debian.mirror.iweb.ca/debian/',
  release  => 'unstable',
  repos    => 'main contrib non-free',
  pin      => '-10',
  key      => {
    'id'     => 'A1BD8E9D78F7FE5C3E65D8AF8B48AD6246925553',
    'server' => 'subkeys.pgp.net',
  include  => {
    'src' => true,
    'deb' => true,

To use the Puppet Apt repository as a source:

apt::source { 'puppetlabs':
  location => 'http://apt.puppetlabs.com',
  repos    => 'main',
  key      => {
    'id'     => '6F6B15509CF8E59E6E469F327F438280EF8D349F',
    'server' => 'pgp.mit.edu',

Configure Apt from Hiera

Instead of specifying your sources directly as resources, you can instead just include the apt class, which will pick up the values automatically from hiera.

    comment: 'This is the iWeb Debian unstable mirror'
    location: 'http://debian.mirror.iweb.ca/debian/'
    release: 'unstable'
    repos: 'main contrib non-free'
    pin: '-10'
      id: 'A1BD8E9D78F7FE5C3E65D8AF8B48AD6246925553'
      server: 'subkeys.pgp.net'
      src: true
      deb: true

    location: 'http://apt.puppetlabs.com'
    repos: 'main'
      id: '6F6B15509CF8E59E6E469F327F438280EF8D349F'
      server: 'pgp.mit.edu'

Replace the default sources.list file

The following example replaces the default /etc/apt/sources.list. Along with this code, be sure to use the purge parameter, or you might get duplicate source warnings when running Apt.

apt::source { "archive.ubuntu.com-${facts['os']['distro']['codename']}":
  location => 'http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu',
  key      => '630239CC130E1A7FD81A27B140976EAF437D05B5',
  repos    => 'main universe multiverse restricted',

apt::source { "archive.ubuntu.com-${facts['os']['distro']['codename']}-security":
  location => 'http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu',
  key      => '630239CC130E1A7FD81A27B140976EAF437D05B5',
  repos    => 'main universe multiverse restricted',
  release  => "${facts['os']['distro']['codename']}-security"

apt::source { "archive.ubuntu.com-${facts['os']['distro']['codename']}-updates":
  location => 'http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu',
  key      => '630239CC130E1A7FD81A27B140976EAF437D05B5',
  repos    => 'main universe multiverse restricted',
  release  => "${facts['os']['distro']['codename']}-updates"

apt::source { "archive.ubuntu.com-${facts['os']['distro']['codename']}-backports":
 location => 'http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu',
 key      => '630239CC130E1A7FD81A27B140976EAF437D05B5',
 repos    => 'main universe multiverse restricted',
 release  => "${facts['os']['distro']['codename']}-backports"

Manage login configuration settings for an APT source or proxy in /etc/apt/auth.conf

Starting with APT version 1.5, you can define login configuration settings, such as username and password, for APT sources or proxies that require authentication in the /etc/apt/auth.conf file. This is preferable to embedding login information directly in source.list entries, which are usually world-readable.

The /etc/apt/auth.conf file follows the format of netrc (used by ftp or curl) and has restrictive file permissions. See here for details.

Use the optional apt::auth_conf_entries parameter to specify an array of hashes containing login configuration settings. These hashes may only contain the machine, login and password keys.

class { 'apt':
  auth_conf_entries => [
      'machine'  => 'apt-proxy.example.net',
      'login'    => 'proxylogin',
      'password' => 'proxypassword',
      'machine'  => 'apt.example.com/ubuntu',
      'login'    => 'reader',
      'password' => 'supersecret',



  • apt_updates: The number of installed packages with available updates from upgrade.

  • apt_dist_updates: The number of installed packages with available updates from dist-upgrade.

  • apt_security_updates: The number of installed packages with available security updates from upgrade.

  • apt_security_dist_updates: The number of installed packages with available security updates from dist-upgrade.

  • apt_package_updates: The names of all installed packages with available updates from upgrade. In Facter 2.0 and later this data is formatted as an array; in earlier versions it is a comma-delimited string.

  • apt_package_dist_updates: The names of all installed packages with available updates from dist-upgrade. In Facter 2.0 and later this data is formatted as an array; in earlier versions it is a comma-delimited string.

  • apt_update_last_success: The date, in epochtime, of the most recent successful apt-get update run (based on the mtime of /var/lib/apt/periodic/update-success-stamp).

  • apt_reboot_required: Determines if a reboot is necessary after updates have been installed.

More Information

See REFERENCE.md for all other reference documentation.


This module is not designed to be split across run stages.

For an extensive list of supported operating systems, see metadata.json

Adding new sources or PPAs

If you are adding a new source or PPA and trying to install packages from the new source or PPA on the same Puppet run, your package resource should depend on Class['apt::update'], as well as depending on the Apt::Source or the Apt::Ppa. You can also add collectors to ensure that all packages happen after apt::update, but this can lead to dependency cycles and has implications for virtual resources. Before running the command below, ensure that all packages have the provider set to apt.

Class['apt::update'] -> Package <| provider == 'apt' |>


Acceptance tests for this module leverage puppet_litmus. To run the acceptance tests follow the instructions here. You can also find a tutorial and walkthrough of using Litmus and the PDK on YouTube.

If you run into an issue with this module, or if you would like to request a feature, please file a ticket. Every Monday the Puppet IA Content Team has office hours in the Puppet Community Slack, alternating between an EMEA friendly time (1300 UTC) and an Americas friendly time (0900 Pacific, 1700 UTC).

If you have problems getting this module up and running, please contact Support.

If you submit a change to this module, be sure to regenerate the reference documentation as follows:

puppet strings generate --format markdown --out REFERENCE.md