Saturday, November 17, 2012

openSUSE 12.2: How to disable Apper

After a new install of openSUSE 12.2 with KDE desktop, I wanted to remove the installation CD/DVD from the list of repositories. When I tried to do that (and anything else involving package management via Yast or zypper), I got a helpful message:
PackageKit is blocking software management.
This happens when the updater applet or another software management
application is running.

Ask PackageKit to quit?

First and foremost, this message meant nothing to me. Being new to KDE, I'm clueless about "PackageKit". Whatever it is, I wanted it to quit, but I wasn't sure what the consequences would be. Still, I went ahead and said "yes". Apparently the consequences would have been grave, because PackageKit essentially gave me the finger and refused to quit. This, apparently, is a bug in openSUSE 12.2.

What the cryptic "PackageKit is blocking software management" message really means is that Apper (to which PackageKit has been renamed?) is busy downloading updates. In my case, this was a fresh installation from CD/DVD and there were a million updates it needed to download and install.

But of course when PackageKit refused to quit, it didn't tell me why, and this was frustrating for awhile until I figured it out by reading mailing list archives.

If you're like me, your knee-jerk reaction is to ask: "If I can already do package management myself via Yast and zypper, why do I need Apper at all?" And, on a related note: "How can I uninstall or at least disable Apper"?

Since there was nobody around to answer those questions, I answered them myself:

Let Apper finish

Since Apper was already running and in the process of bringing the system up to date, I decided to let it finish. I don't like Apper's whole philosophy of being invisible and not telling the user anything, and I did want to get rid of it, but since there was no obvious way to stop it, the path of least resistance was to let it finish updating.

So, I accepted the updates would take a long time and I accepted that Apper is terse and wouldn't give me any information -- not even a progress bar! The only consolation was that it did finish updating . . . eventually.

Disable Apper

When Apper finished, I disabled it thusly:
Kickstart -> Applications -> Configure Desktop ->
  System Administration -> Startup and Shutdown ->
  Service Manager -> Startup Services -> Apper Monitor ->
  Click "Stop" button -> Uncheck "Use" checkbox -> Apply

You can also remove Apper entirely using Yast:
Yast -> Softare -> Software Management -> Search for Apper -> 
   Click on Apper -> Package Menu -> Delete -> Accept 

So, goodbye and good riddance! The downside is you lose all Apper functionality. Instead of letting Apper take care of updates, you will have to periodically install them yourself using Yast or zypper, both of which require root privileges.


  1. Agreed!! Thank so much for your article

    1. You might consider upgrading to openSUSE 13.1, where this issue has been resolved.