Hi. This is a bit strange, and I can't work out whats wrong (version info first):
orangery:/home/josh# aptitude --version
aptitude 0.4.4 compiled at Mar 14 2007 14:38:57
Compiler: g++ 4.1.2 20061115 (prerelease) (Debian 4.1.1-21)
NCurses version: 5.5
libsigc++ version: 2.0.17
Running Debian Etch, up-to-date, not a very long or populated sources.list - almost entirely Etch.
Generally when i run aptitude it works fine, but sometimes the interface is displayed in a messed-up way with random characters sprinkled around the screen. It does this both from the console and from an xterm or gnome-terminal.
All I can think of is some kind of either ncurses or locale issue - I say locale because I just ran it now and it managed to do this: (no interface display)
If you cant see the text under the first "aptitude" command its because it is in chinese characters - I have chinese fonts installed and a chinese locale is available but is NOT the default.
After this happened everything was messed up in the terminal so that pressing Up to re-run aptitude displayed chinese characters instead of "aptitude" as the command, but aptitude still ran when I pressed enter (with a corrupted UI display but no instant-quit like I got the first time). Typing "reset" fixed it, and pressing Up then gave the proper "aptitude" as you can see.
This happened from a freshly opened gnome-terminal. I suspect that the chinese characters are actually a segmentation fault error (it is not actual chinese as far as I can see, but might be using chinese characters to display the normal english error - wrong encoding somehow?). Earlier I got a segmentation fault when I ran aptitude but it didn't mess up the terminal like this. Thing is, I then opened a new terminal, ran it as before, and it worked perfectly.
I very much doubt its a hardware issue because everything else seems alright and aptitude VERY OFTEN does weird things like this while nothing else does.
It also seems a bit unlikely that aptitude itself is corrupt somehow given that sometimes it works without any problems at all.
Any of you clever people have any ideas?