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How to Fix apt-get Failed to Fetch error in unsupported Ubuntu releases

For one of my project, I need to install an older version of Ubuntu (11.10 oneiric release). But apt-get failed (install) or apt-get update was no longer working and failed with an error message  “Failed to fetch” and “404 not found”.  Below are the errors:

$ sudo apt-get update
W: Failed to fetch http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/oneiric-security/main/source/Sources  404  Not Found [IP: 91.189.88.162 80]
W: Failed to fetch http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/oneiric-security/universe/source/Sources  404  Not Found [IP: 91.189.88.162 80]

And the errors from apt-get upgrade resulted in “403 forbidden”.

Well, the errors were expected, because Ubuntu 11.10 is an unsupported release due to which apt-get is not able to find the packages under security.ubuntu.com and archive.ubuntu.com. So I had to find an alternative solution (I mean, I had to find an URL that contains packages for unsupported releases) and fortunately Ubuntu has made it available in an alternative URL.

apt-get failed – How to make it work on an unsupported Ubuntu OS?

apt-get failed to fetch error

Ubuntu has a repository for older versions and it’s available in old-releases.ubuntu.com. So we’ll quickly make apt-get to look for the packages under old releases repository. To do that, edit /etc/apt/sources.list.

# vim /etc/apt/sources.list

Look for the URLs security.ubuntu.com and archive.ubuntu.com and replace both with old-releases.ubuntu.com. The new sources.list should look like the one shown below:

deb http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ oneiric main
 deb-src http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ oneiric main
 deb http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ oneiric-updates main
 deb-src http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ oneiric-updates main
 deb http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ oneiric universe
 deb-src http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ oneiric universe
 deb http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ oneiric-updates universe
 deb-src http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ oneiric-updates universe
 deb http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu oneiric-security main
 deb-src http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu oneiric-security main
 deb http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu oneiric-security universe
 deb-src http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu oneiric-security universe

That’s it!

Now you should be able to perform apt-get update or apt-get upgrade.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

Note: If you are still getting 403 or 404 errors, then make sure the URLs are entered corrected in sources.list file and try again.

Updated on September 2, 2017

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