Ubuntu NL warns for Ultimatix

As you can read in this topic, there is an official warning from Ubuntu NL against using Ultimatix, the successor to the discontinued Automatix. The program is meant to make installing often used program and codecs in Ubuntu easier. However, it does this on a dangerous way that can harm your system. The reasons, given by pjotr123, are these:

1. It installs things in a wrong way. This can destabilise your system.
2. It adds unknown package repositories. You never know what you’ll get.
3. It installs unstable development versions (nightly builds).
4. If you’ve used the script, we can’t help you at Ubuntu NL. A clean install is the only option.
5. Ultamatix is unnecessary. Everything it does can be done with Ubuntu too on a much safer way, with just a little bit of extra trouble.

A majority of the Ubuntu NL community agrees with this.

Some proves Johanvd found:

-The code seems the same as Automatix’. They’ve just consequently replaced Automatix with Ultimatix, although they’ve forgotten some variables like AXHOME.

-The script still talks about gutsy(although the code could be adapted correctly).

-They’re still using –force-yes.

-There is no error handling.

-Sources.list is temporally adopted to download e.g. one package for Medibuntu. Afterwards those entries are removed, which means that you won’t get updates.

-They’re using weird code. E.g. sudo echo “deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/project-neon/ubuntu hardy main” >> /etc/apt/sources.list. This kind of code doesn’t work, unless it is executed in root mode. Sudo only executes echo in the root mode, but the pipe appending redirection(thanks, DarrenR114(was own mistake))(>>) isn’t. Thus either you won’t have the right permissions or the sudo command doesn’t make sense. Although this isn’t harmful, it does show that the authors have poor understanding of the shell.

These programs cause a lot of trouble and are flooding the Ubuntu NL forums with help requests from users with weird symptons. We can’t and thus won’t help you with this. Like pjotr123 already said, the only option is a clean install; otherwise you can never be sure that every remaining of the damage that nasty program did is completely gone.

I’ve posted this warning in English at my blog because I think other people should also be warned. I don’t know the policy of the Ubuntuforums about this program, but I did see some people praising Automatix there. However, please discourage other people from using it. It might work out good, but there is a change that your system will become cripple.

And if everything worked good for you, your system is still unsecure. A lot of packages won’t recieve updates and others are untested and can harm your system and data. Be careful!

Join the conversation


  1. Matthew Garrett did an analysis to Automatix (at the time) and wrote a very interesting post about it. It’s by far the best post I found with technical information of why one shouldn’t use Automatix.


    Don’t know if some points are still a problem with this new software, though.

  2. the double greater-than (‘>>’) is NOT a pipe – it is an appending redirection. How can I trust a conclusion about this by someone who obviously doesn’t understand the shell very well?

  3. For a second everything went quiet in the cab, then the driver said, “Look mate, don’t ever do that again. You scared the daylights out of me!”

  4. linux is freedom , and if we start banning or limiting App's based on one thing or another , Linux will become just like Windows or Mac . Let the user decide what it should use or not use. don't leave packages out so that any given app's no longer work. Sound like what we always were ranting about Windows.

    1. Linux is indeed freedom, but it is—or at least Ubuntu is—guided freedom. Ultimatix is not packaged, but it never would because there are quality standards an application needs to fulfil before we allow it into the repositories. This is done not to prevent people from freely choosing the application they want, but to protect people from hurting themselves.
      We cannot provide an application that does bad things, whether users want it or not. We are obliged to present our users a good, safe experience. Apart from that I believe that we should not make life harder for the people providing support. This kind of application needs to be discouraged because it is so damaging and because it targets new users, who are often less capable of deciding whether an application is well-written and safe.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.