Repository 'Debian bookworm' changed its 'non-free component' value from 'non-free' to 'non-free non-free-firmware'

Josh Sherman
2 min read
Command-line Interface Debian / Ubuntu

While not nearly as frequent as the weirdness I used to experience with Arch Linux, Debian has it’s fair share of unique problems to solve. This week’s cropped up while running an apt update before running an apt upgrade.

Fortunately, most of the stuff I run into on Debian is more of a warning and not anything that needs immediate attention. That being said, I hate leaving these little warnings laying around. I have to assume that at some point they do catch up with you if left unattended.

So after running apt update, I was informed of the following:

$ sudo apt update

# Bunch of unimportant logging about stuff that was fetch...

Fetched 5,137 kB in 5s (1,065 kB/s)

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
Reading state information... Done
136 packages can be upgraded. Run 'apt list --upgradable' to see them.
N: Repository 'Debian bookworm' changed its 'non-free component' value from 'non-free' to 'non-free non-free-firmware'
N: More information about this can be found online in the Release notes at:

Keep in mind, I’m running the testing version of Debian. My intention is to remain on testing until it becomes stable, and at that point, stay true to only running Debian stable moving forward. For stability’s sake, of course.

So I followed the link I was presented with, and read about what needed to be tweaked. What was a bit peculiar though, was that I didn’t actually have a source-list entry that they cited as the offending one.

A quick rg and it seems that Spotify lists non-free on their source. Changing that to non-free-firmware was not the fix though, and that caused a bunch of warnings to show up, in addition to the aforementioned one.

Seeing as it seems like I was being presented this warning, even though I didn’t have non-free in the mix for my actual Debian source, I went down the alternative path.

The alternative was to create a new apt.conf file that would tell it to shut up about things, so that I could live my life.

Here’s a quick one-liner to create the necessary file and contents:

$ su -c 'echo "APT::Get::Update::SourceListWarnings::NonFreeFirmware \"false\";" > /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/no-bookworm-firmware.conf'

After creating that file, running apt update quieted down, and I was able to proceed with an apt upgrade as per usual.

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