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Old 06-19-2008, 07:22 PM
Alan Mackenzie
 
Default Total confusion with aptitude. Help, please!

Hi, debian!

My system: Debian Sarge, with little alteration other than a kernel
upgrade (to 2.6.8).

I currently have aptitude 0.2.15.9 compiled at Apr 7 2005 13:32:48. I
am having severe problems with it, and have become totally confused.

I start aptitude. This status message appears at the top right of the
screen:

#Broken: 12 Will free 16.7MB of disk space DL Size: 6215kB

. Using the aptitude command `find broken', it reports, amongst others,
vim as being broken, giving as further details:

* vim depends on libc6 (>= 2.3.6-6)
* vim depends on libncurses5 (>= 5.4-5)
* vim depends on vim-runtime (= 1:7.0-122+1etch3)

However, vim works just fine (I'm using it to write this email).

################################################## #######################

So, I try to update aptitude itself (this will surely help me with my
other problems ;-). To begin with, I start aptitude, and type ":" on
each of the 8 lines ("--- Security Updates", ....., "--- Tasks") in the
hope of clearing out dross.

I now find aptitude in the list (Successively <CR>ing "Upgradeable
Packages", "Admin", "Main", "Aptitude"). It gives a list of
dependencies, but doesn't say whether it is the current aptitude
(0.2.15.9) or the newest one (0.4.4-4) which so depends. Which is it?
Several of these are shaded red.

I type "u", and it tells me it's connecting to several hosts (presumably
to ask them if they're awake), and then that it's downloaded 0B in 21s
at 0B/s. Is this an error message, or an expected status message? What
is it trying to download here?

I now type "g", and the heavens open. In the top half of the screen I
get the message:

--/ Packages being removed because they are no longer used:

followed by a frighteningly large list (about two hundred) packages
shaded purple. If this sentence were to be reformulated with the second
verb active, e.g. "Packages being removed because X no longer uses
them", what would X be?. Then

--/ Packages being installed to satisfy dependencies

followed by 20 package names (such as cupsys-common, libgnutls13), then

--/ Packages being deleted due to unsatisfied dependencies

followed by an even frighteninglyier large list (~400 packages,
including many libraries). Lower down there is a list of 70 or 80
packages to be updated.

At this point, I type "q" to quit, for fear of utterly fubarring my
system, and in a state of high confusion.

################################################## #######################

OK, my system works. Nothing I do on my Debian box from day to day
seems affected by any of the alleged dependency problems. To be honest,
I don't really believe aptitude's assertions of brokenness.

How did I get into this state? I tried several months ago to upgrade
python (which I was trying again today), and all this happened.

I don't seem to be able to clear this dross out of my aptitude status.
Where are the files which record all these things? (There's no mention
on the aptitude man page or the reference manual.) The "u" command
doesn't help here. It downloads 0 bytes in 21s, again, and doesn't
appear to do anything.

Would somebody please explain what's happened to my system, and how to
fix it. I would like to be able to _just_ install software, in
particular a >= 2.4 version of python.

Is there perhaps some command (apt-foo, perhaps??) which could rebuild
the package database on my system?

Is there perhaps a less flexible, easier to use package manager?
aptitude is about as complicated as mutt, but because I only use
aptitude at most a few times a year, I'm never going to get to grips
properly with it.

Thanks in advance for the help!

--
Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).


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Old 06-20-2008, 01:47 AM
"Mumia W.."
 
Default Total confusion with aptitude. Help, please!

On 06/19/2008 02:22 PM, Alan Mackenzie wrote:

Hi, debian!

My system: Debian Sarge, with little alteration other than a kernel
upgrade (to 2.6.8).

I currently have aptitude 0.2.15.9 compiled at Apr 7 2005 13:32:48. I
am having severe problems with it, and have become totally confused.

I start aptitude. This status message appears at the top right of the
screen:

#Broken: 12 Will free 16.7MB of disk space DL Size: 6215kB
[...]

Would somebody please explain what's happened to my system, and how to
fix it. I would like to be able to _just_ install software, in
particular a >= 2.4 version of python.

Is there perhaps some command (apt-foo, perhaps??) which could rebuild
the package database on my system?

Is there perhaps a less flexible, easier to use package manager?
aptitude is about as complicated as mutt, but because I only use
aptitude at most a few times a year, I'm never going to get to grips
properly with it.

Thanks in advance for the help!



To know what is going on with your system, we would need to see your
/etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/preferences files.


The output of this command would also help:
aptitude -sV upgrade

I suspect that your attempt to upgrade python broke your system. If you
are not an expert with Debian, it is best to stick with a single
distribution (e.g. "stable") rather than to mix distributions (e.g.
"oldstable"+"stable").


One way to solve this problem would be to modify your
/etc/apt/sources.list to contain only Sarge ("oldstable") sources and
update aptitude. Then, using aptitude's interactive interface, remove
those "obsolete and locally created packages" that seem to depend upon
non-Sarge resources. Anything from "obsolete and locally created
packages" that seems to be breaking the system should be removed. After
that, confirm that aptitude is happy by doing another "aptitude -sV
upgrade." Aptitude should not want to upgrade anything.


You need python (>= 2.4), and that version exists in Etch--which is why
you wanted to mix distributions, but mixing distributions is a great way
to break a Debian system, so you need backports. See if backports.org
has a suitable version of python for you. If not, consider upgrading to
Etch. As a Sarge user, you are not getting security updates, so you
should probably want to upgrade soon anyway.


BTW, by mixing distributions, you would have problems regardless of
which package manager you used.



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Old 06-20-2008, 02:57 AM
Daniel Burrows
 
Default Total confusion with aptitude. Help, please!

On Thu, Jun 19, 2008 at 07:22:24PM +0000, Alan Mackenzie <acm@muc.de> was heard to say:
> #Broken: 12 Will free 16.7MB of disk space DL Size: 6215kB
>
> . Using the aptitude command `find broken', it reports, amongst others,
> vim as being broken, giving as further details:
>
> * vim depends on libc6 (>= 2.3.6-6)
> * vim depends on libncurses5 (>= 5.4-5)
> * vim depends on vim-runtime (= 1:7.0-122+1etch3)
>
> However, vim works just fine (I'm using it to write this email).

First possible problem: aptitude uses "broken" as a shorthand for
"broken *after I apply what you've told me to do*". Presumably canceling
the pending actions (e.g., via "Actions -> Cancel pending actions")
would drop this number to 0 (but you can't because your aptitude is too
old). The fact that aptitude says it wants to download some packages and
change how much is installed also suggests you have some changes to your
system "queued up".

I'm confused by those dependencies, though, because the version of vim
in sarge depends on libc6 >= 2.3.2.ds1-21 -- good thing, too, since the
version of libc6 in sarge is 2.3.2.ds1-22sarge6. Whatever vim aptitude
is looking at is not installable on sarge, presumably because you have
other releases in your sources.list and told aptitude to install vim
from one of them. More on that later.

> ################################################## #######################
>
> So, I try to update aptitude itself (this will surely help me with my
> other problems ;-). To begin with, I start aptitude, and type ":" on
> each of the 8 lines ("--- Security Updates", ....., "--- Tasks") in the
> hope of clearing out dross.

btw, to upgrade just aptitude it might be easier to run
"aptitude install aptitude".

> I now find aptitude in the list (Successively <CR>ing "Upgradeable
> Packages", "Admin", "Main", "Aptitude"). It gives a list of
> dependencies, but doesn't say whether it is the current aptitude
> (0.2.15.9) or the newest one (0.4.4-4) which so depends. Which is it?
> Several of these are shaded red.

The one shown by default is the default candidate version (the version
number on the far right). If you pick a particular version, that one is
shown.

> I type "u", and it tells me it's connecting to several hosts (presumably
> to ask them if they're awake), and then that it's downloaded 0B in 21s
> at 0B/s. Is this an error message, or an expected status message? What
> is it trying to download here?

When you hit "u", aptitude checks for updates to the list of available
package versions. It doesn't download anything if there aren't any changes.

> I now type "g", and the heavens open. In the top half of the screen I
> get the message:
>
> --/ Packages being removed because they are no longer used:
>
> followed by a frighteningly large list (about two hundred) packages
> shaded purple. If this sentence were to be reformulated with the second
> verb active, e.g. "Packages being removed because X no longer uses
> them", what would X be?. Then

If you highlight various packages it should say what depends on them;
I might guess that they have to do with the packages being removed later.
I can't guess why the packages are being removed since you didn't say
what they are -- are they things you need or just libraries that nothing
depends on?

> --/ Packages being installed to satisfy dependencies
>
> followed by 20 package names (such as cupsys-common, libgnutls13), then
>
> --/ Packages being deleted due to unsatisfied dependencies
>
> followed by an even frighteninglyier large list (~400 packages,
> including many libraries). Lower down there is a list of 70 or 80
> packages to be updated.

Same as above, highlighting the package will give you some sort of
information about why aptitude thinks they might be broken. You could
also try canceling all these removals and seeing what aptitude tells you
is broken then.

Without more information I can't really tell you why these packages
are being removed (and this version of aptitude uses the apt resolver,
which doesn't provide very detailed information about what's happening).

> How did I get into this state? I tried several months ago to upgrade
> python (which I was trying again today), and all this happened.

It's hard to say without more information; e.g., which packages are
being removed and why.

> I don't seem to be able to clear this dross out of my aptitude status.
> Where are the files which record all these things? (There's no mention
> on the aptitude man page or the reference manual.) The "u" command
> doesn't help here. It downloads 0 bytes in 21s, again, and doesn't
> appear to do anything.

Is there a reason you're still using sarge? If you had the etch
version of aptitude you could use "Cancel pending actions" or
"aptitude keep-all" to throw out those actions out. You can also remove
/var/lib/aptitude/pkgstates, but I don't recommend that except as a
last-ditch measure, as doing so will erase all information about which
packages have been automatically installed.

Personally, I would probably hit "g", then hit ':' on all the packages
whose state was being changed (starting with the ones that were broken,
then the unused packages, and finally the rest). Once I did that I'd
see what was still broken (probably nothing) and deal with those
packages individually.

> Would somebody please explain what's happened to my system, and how to
> fix it. I would like to be able to _just_ install software, in
> particular a >= 2.4 version of python.

I suspect you tried to install packages from multiple distributions --
particularly problematic with the antique version of aptitude you have,
because its dependency resolver can't span distributions correctly --
and then saved a half-broken set of planned changes in your package
states file.

What happens if you just run "aptitude install python2.4", out of
curiosity?

Daniel


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Old 06-20-2008, 10:48 AM
Alan Mackenzie
 
Default Total confusion with aptitude. Help, please!

Hi again,

On Thu, Jun 19, 2008 at 08:47:35PM -0500, Mumia W.. wrote:
> On 06/19/2008 02:22 PM, Alan Mackenzie wrote:
> >Hi, debian!

> >My system: Debian Sarge, with little alteration other than a kernel
> >upgrade (to 2.6.8).

> >I currently have aptitude 0.2.15.9 compiled at Apr 7 2005 13:32:48. I
> >am having severe problems with it, and have become totally confused.

> >I start aptitude. This status message appears at the top right of the
> >screen:

> > #Broken: 12 Will free 16.7MB of disk space DL Size: 6215kB
> >[...]

> >Would somebody please explain what's happened to my system, and how to
> >fix it. I would like to be able to _just_ install software, in
> >particular a >= 2.4 version of python.

> >Is there perhaps some command (apt-foo, perhaps??) which could rebuild
> >the package database on my system?

> >Is there perhaps a less flexible, easier to use package manager?
> >aptitude is about as complicated as mutt, but because I only use
> >aptitude at most a few times a year, I'm never going to get to grips
> >properly with it.

> >Thanks in advance for the help!


> To know what is going on with your system, we would need to see your
> /etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/preferences files.

#/etc/apt/sources.list:
################################################## #######################
deb ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib
deb-src ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib

deb http://security.debian.org/ stable/updates main contrib
################################################## #######################

I haven't got an /etc/apt/preferences. However, I can see one problem.
I've got "stable" where I really want to have "sarge". "stable" points
at the current Debian release, which changes every now and then. This
seems a source of my problems.

> The output of this command would also help:
> aptitude -sV upgrade

################################################## #######################
[ a few status messages from reading the archive ]
The following packages are unused and will be REMOVED:
cjk-latex [4.5.1-4 -> 4.7.0+cvs20061019-2]
freetype1-tools [1.4pre.20030402-1.1 -> 1.4pre.20050518-0.4]
hlatex [0.991-6 -> 1.0.1-2.1] hlatex-fonts-base [0.991-2.1 -> 1.0-3.1]
libttf2 [1.4pre.20030402-1.1 -> 1.4pre.20050518-0.4]
The following packages have been kept back:
a2ps [1:4.13b-4.3 -> 1:4.13b.dfsg.1-1]
....
bsdmainutils [6.0.17 -> 6.1.6] bsdutils [1:2.12p-4 -> 1:2.12r-19etch1]
.... [~500 packages "kept back"]
zlib1g-dev [1:1.2.2-4 -> 1:1.2.3-13]
The following packages will be upgraded:
apsfilter [7.2.6-1 -> 7.2.6-1.1] base-files [3.1.2 -> 4]
.... [ ~70 packages "will be upgraded]
xml-core [0.09 -> 0.09-0.1]
The following packages are RECOMMENDED but will NOT be installed:
latex-cjk-all [4.7.0+cvs20061019-2] libcompress-zlib-perl [1.42-2]
libeel2-2.14 [2.14.3-5] libft-perl [1.2-16] libhtml-format-perl [2.04-1]
lsb-base [3.1-23.2etch1] wbritish [6-2] x-ttcidfont-conf [25.1]
99 packages upgraded, 0 newly installed, 5 to remove and 762 not upgraded.
Need to get 152MB of archives. After unpacking 57.5MB will be freed.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n/?] Would download/install/remove packages.
################################################## #######################

> I suspect that your attempt to upgrade python broke your system. If you
> are not an expert with Debian, it is best to stick with a single
> distribution (e.g. "stable") rather than to mix distributions (e.g.
> "oldstable"+"stable").

I was expecting that in using a package manager, it would simply do the
Right Thing, without me having to worry. Again, I think the problem for
me is that the meaning of "stable" has changed from "sarge" to "etch".
Presumably this was a deliberate choice of the Debian team, on the
assumption that most people would be upgrading as early as possible
anyhow. Is there a symbolic link (or something similar) in the Debian
archive, something like "sarge" -> "oldstable", that I could use here in
place of "stable"?

> One way to solve this problem would be to modify your
> /etc/apt/sources.list to contain only Sarge ("oldstable") sources and
> update aptitude. Then, using aptitude's interactive interface, remove
> those "obsolete and locally created packages" that seem to depend upon
> non-Sarge resources. Anything from "obsolete and locally created
> packages" that seems to be breaking the system should be removed. After
> that, confirm that aptitude is happy by doing another "aptitude -sV
> upgrade." Aptitude should not want to upgrade anything.

I will try this. Thanks!

> You need python (>= 2.4), and that version exists in Etch--which is why
> you wanted to mix distributions, but mixing distributions is a great way
> to break a Debian system, so you need backports. See if backports.org
> has a suitable version of python for you. If not, consider upgrading to
> Etch. As a Sarge user, you are not getting security updates, so you
> should probably want to upgrade soon anyway.

Installing Debian is very, very painful, and upgrading it is probably not
much better. I downloaded an etch CD image about a year ago, in fact, on
17th May 2007, and started installing it. On 26th May, I got distracted
by something else, and never got back to etch. To install sarge and get
it working acceptably took me 20 days when I didn't have a day job, and
it took me another 7 days of evenings to get my ethernet card working
when I (finally!) got a DSL link. I've kept a blow-by-blow log of
everything I did, so it won't be as bad next time round. But I'm still
not looking forward to it.

> BTW, by mixing distributions, you would have problems regardless of
> which package manager you used.

Hmm. I don't really feel that it was me that did the mixing. :-)
However, I take the point. I'll try the suggestion you gave me up above
(putting "oldstable" into sources.list), and then report on what
happened.

--
Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).


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Old 06-20-2008, 02:02 PM
Daniel Burrows
 
Default Total confusion with aptitude. Help, please!

On Fri, Jun 20, 2008 at 10:48:02AM +0000, Alan Mackenzie <acm@muc.de> was heard to say:
> On Thu, Jun 19, 2008 at 08:47:35PM -0500, Mumia W.. wrote:
> > I suspect that your attempt to upgrade python broke your system. If you
> > are not an expert with Debian, it is best to stick with a single
> > distribution (e.g. "stable") rather than to mix distributions (e.g.
> > "oldstable"+"stable").
>
> I was expecting that in using a package manager, it would simply do the
> Right Thing, without me having to worry.

aptitude prior to 0.4 gets really confused (as do other apt-based
package managers) if you try to mix distributions. You can do it, but
you have to manually resolve any dependency problems that come up
because the package manager doesn't know how. I think that 0.4 should
be better, but I don't normally use it this way.

> Again, I think the problem for
> me is that the meaning of "stable" has changed from "sarge" to "etch".
> Presumably this was a deliberate choice of the Debian team, on the
> assumption that most people would be upgrading as early as possible
> anyhow. Is there a symbolic link (or something similar) in the Debian
> archive, something like "sarge" -> "oldstable", that I could use here in
> place of "stable"?

There is not a symbolic link from sarge to oldstable, because that
would be a symlink loop. :-) Release status names, like "stable" and
"testing", are symlinks to release names, like "sarge" and "etch";
they exist for the convenience of people who want to always have
whatever is currently "stable" or "testing".

If for some reason you really want to keep using sarge, you should
change "stable" to "sarge" in sources.list. Personally, I'd recommend
upgrading to etch unless you have a situation that prevents that (e.g.,
you have a low-powered computer that you know can't run etch).

Daniel


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Old 06-20-2008, 02:44 PM
Alan Mackenzie
 
Default Total confusion with aptitude. Help, please!

Hi, Daniel!

On Thu, Jun 19, 2008 at 07:57:45PM -0700, Daniel Burrows wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 19, 2008 at 07:22:24PM +0000, Alan Mackenzie <acm@muc.de> was heard to say:

> > #Broken: 12 Will free 16.7MB of disk space DL Size: 6215kB

> > . Using the aptitude command `find broken', it reports, amongst others,
> > vim as being broken, giving as further details:

> > * vim depends on libc6 (>= 2.3.6-6)
> > * vim depends on libncurses5 (>= 5.4-5)
> > * vim depends on vim-runtime (= 1:7.0-122+1etch3)

> > However, vim works just fine (I'm using it to write this email).

> First possible problem: aptitude uses "broken" as a shorthand for
> "broken *after I apply what you've told me to do*".

Ah! Thanks!

[ .... ]

> > ################################################## #######################

> > So, I try to update aptitude itself (this will surely help me with my
> > other problems ;-). To begin with, I start aptitude, and type ":" on
> > each of the 8 lines ("--- Security Updates", ....., "--- Tasks") in the
> > hope of clearing out dross.

> btw, to upgrade just aptitude it might be easier to run
> "aptitude install aptitude".

OK. But I'm a coward. Where in all the documentation would I find a
statement that doing this won't irreversibly hose my system, especially
when I'm scared that it's already in a fragile, possibly inconsistent
state? What, exactly, does "install" mean? These aren't rhetorical
questions. I've looked in the aptitude man page (sarge version from
2005). This is something I dislike about package managers - they demand
complete trust on an all-or-nothing basis. Or have I missed something?
What I would like is "test-download" facility that would prompt me for a
directory, and put the new version of the package there WITHOUT TOUCHING
MY CURRENT SETUP. I could then make sure it works properly before
committing myself to an irreversible and potentially catastrophic update.

> > I now find aptitude in the list (Successively <CR>ing "Upgradeable
> > Packages", "Admin", "Main", "Aptitude"). It gives a list of
> > dependencies, but doesn't say whether it is the current aptitude
> > (0.2.15.9) or the newest one (0.4.4-4) which so depends. Which is it?
> > Several of these are shaded red.

> The one shown by default is the default candidate version (the
> version number on the far right). If you pick a particular version,
> that one is shown.

OK.

> > I type "u", and it tells me it's connecting to several hosts
> > (presumably to ask them if they're awake), and then that it's
> > downloaded 0B in 21s at 0B/s. Is this an error message, or an
> > expected status message? What is it trying to download here?

> When you hit "u", aptitude checks for updates to the list of available
> package versions. It doesn't download anything if there aren't any
> changes.

OK.

[ .... ]

> Is there a reason you're still using sarge?

<rant mode>
Yes. Installing Debian is (was?) so painful that I really can't face the
drudgery again at the moment. I've only had about 2 years use out of
sarge so far. I started installing sarge in earnest the day after my old
PC died. After 20 days of work (when I didn't have a day job) I was
finally able to use it reasonably. I have kept a detailed log of the
process so that it won't be as bad second time round, but even so I'm not
looking forward to it.

I hit problem after problem after problem - nothing big or dramatic, but
each one took 2 to 4 hours to resolve, first tracking down the relevant
documentation, trying it out, sometimes with new kernel parameters,
sometimes even rebuilding the kernel. To be fair, not all the problems
were with Debian; it took a few days to determine that my ISP wouldn't
connect to my modem at 56kbaud, but was fine at 33kbaud. A typical
problem was that my X-Windows came up in 800 x 600 resolution - not nice
on a 17" CRT. It took an evening to search through the many
documentation sources, some of them not in easily searchable form, to
track down /etc/X11/XF86Config-4, make the appropriate adjustment and
test it.

When I (finally) got a DSL connection, it took me 7 days of evenings to
get my Ethernet card working. There doesn't seem to be a HOWTO for
network configuration. When something networky is not worky, typically
nothing happens, and one has to wade through /var/log/messages and
friends. On the rare occasions an error message does appear, it's
something like "No route to www.debian.org" rather than the more helpful
"Couldn't read file /etc/resolv.conf".

In the real world, nobody I know has got any sort of GNU/Linux installed
and working in a few days. Most have tried and given up after a weekend
or two, going back to a Microsoft system. Those few who have managed
have, like me, endured weeks of drudgery. Only on internet blogs do I
read "Wow!" reports about how it works perfectly an hour and a half after
inserting the installation DVD.
</rant mode>

[ .... ]

> > Would somebody please explain what's happened to my system, and how
> > to fix it. I would like to be able to _just_ install software, in
> > particular a >= 2.4 version of python.

> I suspect you tried to install packages from multiple distributions --
> particularly problematic with the antique version of aptitude you have,
> because its dependency resolver can't span distributions correctly --
> and then saved a half-broken set of planned changes in your package
> states file.

That is surely the case. In the appropriate config file, I'll change
"stable" to "sarge" and see what happens. I'll report back when I've
tried it.

> What happens if you just run "aptitude install python2.4", out of
> curiosity?

Might it possibly leave programs written in Python non-working? Is
aptitude itself, or are any of the other package tools written in python?

> Daniel

--
Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).


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Old 06-20-2008, 04:40 PM
Eduardo M KALINOWSKI
 
Default Total confusion with aptitude. Help, please!

Alan Mackenzie escreveu:

Hi, again!

On Fri, Jun 20, 2008 at 10:48:02AM +0000, Alan Mackenzie wrote:


To know what is going on with your system, we would need to see your
/etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/preferences files.





#/etc/apt/sources.list:
################################################## #######################
deb ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib
deb-src ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib





deb http://security.debian.org/ stable/updates main contrib
################################################## #######################



[ .... ]



Hmm. I don't really feel that it was me that did the mixing. :-)
However, I take the point. I'll try the suggestion you gave me up above
(putting "oldstable" into sources.list), and then report on what
happened.



My /etc/apt/source.list now looks like this:
################################################## #######################
#deb ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib
deb ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ oldstable main contrib

#deb-src ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib
deb-src ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ oldstable main contrib

deb http://security.debian.org/ oldstable/updates main contrib
################################################## #######################

When I now start aptitude, I get a plethora of errors with the following
form:

W: Couldn't stat source package list ftp://ftp.de.debian.org oldstable/main Packages
(/var/lib/apt/lists/ftp.de.debian.org_debian_dists_oldstable_main_bina ry-i386_Packages) - stat (2 No such file or
directory)

[...]
Here, "stable -> etch" and "oldstable -> sarge" seem to be of equal
status. This is making me feel stupid; what stupid mistake have I made
in my source.list?



None, I'd say. Have you run aptitude update?


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Old 06-20-2008, 04:56 PM
Alan Mackenzie
 
Default Total confusion with aptitude. Help, please!

Hi, again!

On Fri, Jun 20, 2008 at 10:48:02AM +0000, Alan Mackenzie wrote:

> > To know what is going on with your system, we would need to see your
> > /etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/preferences files.

> #/etc/apt/sources.list:
> ################################################## #######################
> deb ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib
> deb-src ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib

> deb http://security.debian.org/ stable/updates main contrib
> ################################################## #######################

[ .... ]

> Hmm. I don't really feel that it was me that did the mixing. :-)
> However, I take the point. I'll try the suggestion you gave me up above
> (putting "oldstable" into sources.list), and then report on what
> happened.

My /etc/apt/source.list now looks like this:
################################################## #######################
#deb ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib
deb ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ oldstable main contrib

#deb-src ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib
deb-src ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ oldstable main contrib

deb http://security.debian.org/ oldstable/updates main contrib
################################################## #######################

When I now start aptitude, I get a plethora of errors with the following
form:

W: Couldn't stat source package list ftp://ftp.de.debian.org oldstable/main Packages
(/var/lib/apt/lists/ftp.de.debian.org_debian_dists_oldstable_main_bina ry-i386_Packages) - stat (2 No such file or
directory)

It seems I've misunderstood the format of /etc/apt/sources.list. Looking
at source.lists's man page, however, it seems OK.

If I connect to the ftp server in the error message, ftp.de.debian.org,
then cd to debian/dists, I see this:

lrw-r--r-- 1 ftp ftp 5 Apr 12 21:15 Debian3.1r8 -> sarge
lrw-r--r-- 1 ftp ftp 4 Feb 16 20:51 Debian4.0r3 -> etch
-rw-r--r-- 1 ftp ftp 449 Apr 12 18:16 README
drwxr-xr-x 5 ftp ftp 4096 Feb 16 14:58 etch
drwxr-xr-x 5 ftp ftp 78 Jun 20 08:23 etch-m68k
drwxr-xr-x 5 ftp ftp 69632 Jun 20 08:22 etch-proposed-updates
drwxr-xr-x 5 ftp ftp 78 Jun 20 08:24 experimental
drwxr-xr-x 17 ftp ftp 4096 Jun 20 08:23 lenny
drwxr-xr-x 5 ftp ftp 78 Jun 20 08:23 lenny-proposed-updates
lrw-r--r-- 1 ftp ftp 5 Apr 8 2007 oldstable -> sarge
lrw-r--r-- 1 ftp ftp 22 May 15 2007 oldstable-proposed-updates -> sarge-proposed-updates
lrw-r--r-- 1 ftp ftp 21 Apr 8 2007 proposed-updates -> etch-proposed-updates
drwxr-xr-x 5 ftp ftp 4096 Apr 12 19:08 sarge
drwxr-xr-x 5 ftp ftp 78 Jun 20 08:22 sarge-proposed-updates
drwxr-xr-x 19 ftp ftp 4096 Jun 20 08:24 sid
lrw-r--r-- 1 ftp ftp 4 Apr 8 2007 stable -> etch
lrw-r--r-- 1 ftp ftp 21 Apr 8 2007 stable-proposed-updates -> etch-proposed-updates
lrw-r--r-- 1 ftp ftp 5 Apr 8 2007 testing -> lenny
lrw-r--r-- 1 ftp ftp 22 Apr 8 2007 testing-proposed-updates -> lenny-proposed-updates
lrw-r--r-- 1 ftp ftp 3 May 13 2006 unstable -> sid

Here, "stable -> etch" and "oldstable -> sarge" seem to be of equal
status. This is making me feel stupid; what stupid mistake have I made
in my source.list?

--
Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).


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Old 06-20-2008, 08:06 PM
Alan Mackenzie
 
Default Total confusion with aptitude. Help, please!

Hi, Eduardo!

On Fri, Jun 20, 2008 at 01:40:55PM -0300, Eduardo M KALINOWSKI wrote:
> Alan Mackenzie escreveu:


> >My /etc/apt/source.list now looks like this:
> >################################################# ########################
> >#deb ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib
> >deb ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ oldstable main contrib

> >#deb-src ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ stable main contrib
> >deb-src ftp://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ oldstable main contrib

> >deb http://security.debian.org/ oldstable/updates main contrib
> >################################################# ########################

> >When I now start aptitude, I get a plethora of errors with the following
> >form:

> >W: Couldn't stat source package list ftp://ftp.de.debian.org
> >oldstable/main Packages
> > (/var/lib/apt/lists/ftp.de.debian.org_debian_dists_oldstable_main_bina ry-i386_Packages) - stat (2 No such file or
> > directory)

> >[...]
> >Here, "stable -> etch" and "oldstable -> sarge" seem to be of equal
> >status. This is making me feel stupid; what stupid mistake have I made
> >in my source.list?

> None, I'd say. Have you run aptitude update?

I have now!

I think I understand the error message now - it parses as "couldn't stat
[the] source package list [for] ftp://ftp.de.debian.org oldstable/main
['s] Packages [, which should be on your Debian system at]
(/var/lib/....._Packages)."

I'd read the message as meaning that /var/lib/apt/.......-i386-Packages
couldn't be found on ftp.de.debian.org - the first part of the message
creates that mental context.

And the last bit of the message (which I didn't quote above) which said
something like "You may want to update the package lists." was not
referring to the contents of the file /etc/apt/source.list (which I
thought at first), is certainly not talking about a package called
"lists", but actually means "You may want to run the `update' command in
aptitude.".

Phew!

After running the update command, I now have a sanely working aptitude
again. Thanks!

--
Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).


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Old 06-21-2008, 03:54 AM
Daniel Burrows
 
Default Total confusion with aptitude. Help, please!

On Fri, Jun 20, 2008 at 02:44:58PM +0000, Alan Mackenzie <acm@muc.de> was heard to say:
> On Thu, Jun 19, 2008 at 07:57:45PM -0700, Daniel Burrows wrote:
> > On Thu, Jun 19, 2008 at 07:22:24PM +0000, Alan Mackenzie <acm@muc.de> was heard to say:
>
> > > #Broken: 12 Will free 16.7MB of disk space DL Size: 6215kB
>
> > > . Using the aptitude command `find broken', it reports, amongst others,
> > > vim as being broken, giving as further details:
>
> > > * vim depends on libc6 (>= 2.3.6-6)
> > > * vim depends on libncurses5 (>= 5.4-5)
> > > * vim depends on vim-runtime (= 1:7.0-122+1etch3)
>
> > > However, vim works just fine (I'm using it to write this email).
>
> > First possible problem: aptitude uses "broken" as a shorthand for
> > "broken *after I apply what you've told me to do*".
>
> Ah! Thanks!

Just to be a little more clear, you can find out exactly what aptitude
thinks by examining the status flags on the left-hand side of the package
list. Normally packages have flags like this:

pi package-name ...

The two characters on the left say what the current (p) and planned (i)
states of the package are. "p" here is for "purged" and "i" is for
"installed". You can find a complete list in the online help; of
particular interest for you is the "B" state, "broken". I bet that the
flags on "vim" were something like:

iB vim ...

which means that vim is currently installed, and will be broken by the
current set of planned actions.

> [ .... ]
>
> > > ################################################## #######################
>
> > > So, I try to update aptitude itself (this will surely help me with my
> > > other problems ;-). To begin with, I start aptitude, and type ":" on
> > > each of the 8 lines ("--- Security Updates", ....., "--- Tasks") in the
> > > hope of clearing out dross.
>
> > btw, to upgrade just aptitude it might be easier to run
> > "aptitude install aptitude".
>
> OK. But I'm a coward. Where in all the documentation would I find a
> statement that doing this won't irreversibly hose my system, especially
> when I'm scared that it's already in a fragile, possibly inconsistent
> state?

I don't know if it's explicitly stated, but aptitude prompts if it has
to take any actions that you didn't ask for. But if you don't trust it
(and I couldn't blame you at this point), you can always run it as a
non-root user and pass the "-s" flag to see what it would do.

> What, exactly, does "install" mean?

"install" means "install the current candidate version of the
package". It doesn't do anything else (other pending actions stored in
the state file are ignored).

Now more information than you probably want. ;-)

In the apt universe, there are three main versions of a package: the
"current version", which is currently installed, the "candidate version",
which is what would be installed if you asked for a package, and the
"install version", the version that is going to be installed by any
pending action. Normally the install version is either the current or
the candidate version.

In other words, you might have something like

current version candidate version other versions
aptitude 0.2.15.3 0.4.4 0.4.11.5, 0.5.0
^
|
|
install version

The candidate version, btw, is chosen according to your current local
policy and preferences (see apt_preferences(5)).

"Installing" aptitude, in apt lingo, would mean changing the install
to point at version 0.4.4. Once the install was complete, both the
current and the candidate version would be 0.4.4.

(I hope that's right, because it's the mental model I use. :-) )

> These aren't rhetorical questions. I've looked in the aptitude man
> page (sarge version from 2005). This is something I dislike about
> package managers - they demand complete trust on an all-or-nothing
> basis. Or have I missed something? What I would like is
> "test-download" facility that would prompt me for a directory, and
> put the new version of the package there WITHOUT TOUCHING MY CURRENT
> SETUP. I could then make sure it works properly before committing
> myself to an irreversible and potentially catastrophic update.

There are a couple things you could try:

(a) set up a chroot and install the new aptitude there to convince
yourself it works.
(b) use a checkpointing facility if your filesystem supports it.
e.g., if you have free extents you can run lvcreate --snapshot.

I don't think these are very practical, though. There isn't really a
good way to install packages into custom locations, though, or to roll
back entire systems (other than LVM snapshots, which I should add I've
never actually used). My personal experience, though, is that the
Debian package management tools are very reliable and provide ample
opportunities to recover the situation on the occasions that something
does go wrong.

> > Is there a reason you're still using sarge?
>
> <rant mode>
> Yes. Installing Debian is (was?) so painful that I really can't face the
> drudgery again at the moment. I've only had about 2 years use out of
> sarge so far.

I'm sorry it was such a pain. (rest of rant snipped)

> In the real world, nobody I know has got any sort of GNU/Linux installed
> and working in a few days. Most have tried and given up after a weekend
> or two, going back to a Microsoft system. Those few who have managed
> have, like me, endured weeks of drudgery. Only on internet blogs do I
> read "Wow!" reports about how it works perfectly an hour and a half after
> inserting the installation DVD.

Well, my first Debian installation was from a pile of floppies, so I'm
not going to be able to comment intelligently on how hard or easy today's
process is.

> > What happens if you just run "aptitude install python2.4", out of
> > curiosity?

(note: as with "aptitude install aptitude", I was mostly curious about
the prompt you get, not about how the installation proceeds once you
kick it off)

> Might it possibly leave programs written in Python non-working? Is
> aptitude itself, or are any of the other package tools written in python?

Debian generally allows multiple python versions to be installed at
once. Some Python programs might be buggy and use #!/usr/bin/python
when they really need pre-2.4 versions, though.

aptitude isn't written in Python, nor is anything underneath it (i.e.,
dpkg). There may be maintainer scripts written in Python, but those
packages will declare a Python dependency.

Daniel


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