How to fix “No installation candidate” issue in Ubuntu

You tried to install something, but Ubuntu can’t get it on board. Apt mentions something about “no installation candidate”. What does this mean, what is the source of the problem and is it fixable? Here are some ways to fix this problem.

What does it mean?

If you try to install a package that Apt has no idea about, it will notify you that it is unable to locate it. This can happen if you enter the name of a package incorrectly or try to install an application that is not in the repository.

There is also another case of missing packages – Apt cannot find it in its usual location but knows it exists because another package is referencing it.

Ubuntu Fix No candidate terminal error during installation

In such cases the problem is that Apt doesn’t know where or how to find it.

How can you fix it?

First check if the entry was removed in the last update / upgrade you performed. You don’t have to track it down in encrypted logs. You just need to run another update / upgrade to get the latest versions of your software installed. During the process, Apt’s database will be updated. Then try to install the package again.

Ubuntu Fix No Apt installation candidate update

If that doesn’t work, you’ll likely find the particular package in a currently unlisted repository. You just need to find it and add it to the software sources of your distribution.

Internet is your friend to find the missing repository. Once located, you can add the repository to Ubuntu with the command:

In some rare cases, the problem is not a missing repository but a renamed package. To find packages with similar names available, use the command:

Depending on what you’re looking for, this can bring up a huge list of available software. Here’s a trick to restrict it: Usually, package names won’t undergo drastic name changes. What may change is a version number or a secondary keyword. Fortunately, apt-cache supports Regex. So you can search for packages that start with the specific keyword.

For example, suppose you entered the above command using “firefox” as PACKAGE_NAME. In this case, you will see dozens of entries with the word firefox in their name or description. You can try the following instead:

The above command will return a list of all packages whose name begins with PACKAGE_NAME. If you replaced PACKAGE_NAME with Firefox, you will see a list of all packages beginning with the word “firefox”. Among them you will probably find an alternative to the one you are looking for.

Have you ever encountered the “no candidate installation” problem, and if so, how did you solve it? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Odysseas Kourafalos
Odysseas Kourafalos

OK’s real life started around 10 am, when he got his first computer – a Commodore 128. Since then, he’s been melting keys typing 24/7, trying to get The Word Of Tech out to everyone who is. interested enough to listen. Or rather read.

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