Ubuntu – Install packages without starting background processes and services


Sometimes installing some applications will start a process or service from the application being run automatically on installation. How do I install without starting them?

Best Answer

There's a slightly hackish, but quite reliable way to do this which I've been using for a while in an automated installation script.

First create a directory, for example /root/fake, which contains symlinks to /bin/true called:


You could also make them bash scripts that do nothing and return success.

Then include that directory at the front of $PATH when installing packages:

PATH=/root/fake:$PATH apt-get install whatever

This only prevents daemons from starting/restarting, while things like creating an initramfs are still being done.


The scripts which are being executed at package installation and removal execute invoke-rc.d or others of the mentioned commands to start and stop services. They don't however call them with absolute paths (at least I haven't encountered one that does).

So by inserting the faked "no operation" commands at the beginning of $PATH, the real commands never get called.

Since only the commands used to start/stop services are being faked, everything else, in particular important tasks like updating/creating initramfs-images still work.