Quick tip: How to stop package installations from auto-starting server services with Debian based distributions (like Ubuntu)

I’m working on another toy project to understand a piece of software a little better, and to make it work, I needed to install dnsmasq inside an Ubuntu-based virtual machine. The problem with this is that Ubuntu already runs systemd-resolved to perform DNS lookups, and Debian likes to start server services as soon as it’s installed them. So how do we work around this? Well, actually, it’s pretty simple.

Thanks to this blog post from 2013, I found out that if you create an executable script called /usr/sbin/policy-rc.d with the content:

exit 101

This will stop all services in the dpkg/apt process from running on install, so I was able to do this:

echo 'exit 101' >> /usr/sbin/policy-rc.d
chmod +x /usr/sbin/policy-rc.d
apt update
apt install dnsmasq -y
systemctl disable --now systemd-resolved
# Futz with dnsmasq config
systemctl enable --now dnsmasq
dig example.com



He/Him. Husband and father. Linux advocating geek. Co-Host on the AdminAdmin Podcast, occasional conference speaker.

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