Workaround to fix packages not installing after Debian 10 release

tl;dr If you’re not interested in the technical details and just want to get your FreedomBox working again, skip to the Workaround section and follow the instructions.


App installations and software updates are failing with an error since Debian 10 (codename Buster) was released.

Who is affected?

  • All existing FreedomBox Pioneer users.
  • FreedomBox users who are using the testing images of FreedomBox older than the ones released on July 22
  • Users trying out AWS AMIs of FreedomBox using the older AMI from before July 19

Note: It is harmless to try the fix even if your FreedomBox is not affected.

Who is not affected?

  • Users running the new stable images of FreedomBox released for Debian 10 are not affected.
  • New images for testing and pioneer are released with this fix. New Pioneer edition kits shipping with the updated images are unaffected.


Application installations and software updates no longer work.

You might see an error message similar to the following when trying to install an app.

Error installing application: Error during installation E: Repository ‘ buster/updates InRelease’ changed its ‘Suite’ value from ‘testing’ to ‘stable’

Root cause

The Buster release triggered a change in name of release files.

  • testing now points to bullseye instead of buster.
  • buster is now stable, not testing.

Debian expects users to explicitly accept the change in names, which unattended-upgrades cannot do, so it is blocked.


Add your SSH public key to your administrator account on FreedomBox.
Copy the contents for the file .ssh/ from your user’s home directory and paste it into the field for ssh key in your FreedomBox administrator user’s account and submit.

Login via ssh into your FreedomBox with the administrator account.

$ ssh <username>@<freedombox-url>

Run apt update to fetch the latest release files

$ sudo apt update

When you run the above command, you will be presented with a prompt similar to the following. Press y and enter. Let the command finish running.

Get:1 testing InRelease [117 kB]
E: Repository ' testing InRelease' changed its 'Codename' value from 'buster' to 'bullseye'
N: This must be accepted explicitly before updates for this repository can be applied. See apt-secure(8) manpage for details.
Do you want to accept these changes and continue updating from this repository? [y/N] 

The above message is shown to testing users. For Pioneer users, the following will be shown as the error message in the second line.

E: Repository ‘ buster/updates InRelease’ changed its ‘Suite’ value from ‘testing’ to ‘stable’

After accepting the prompt, your app installations and automatic software upgrades will start working again.


Unfortunately, this issue cannot be fixed by releasing a new freedombox package, since updates to existing installations are blocked because of this issue. However, we will try to find a permanent fix to avoid this issue when the next Debian release happens.


  1. First report
    [SOLVED] Error installing apps
  2. Issue in bug tracker