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Old 03-15-2005, 10:38 AM   #1
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Coppell, Texas
Distribution: SUSE 10.1, Kubuntu 6.06 (Dapper)
Posts: 81

Rep: Reputation: 15
dpkg giving persistent errors, please help.

Distribution: Libranet/debian
Platform: HP Pavillion

After installing Libranet, I attempted to run the following to update/upgrade my system:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get dist-upgrade

One of the reasons for doing this was to get all updates and then get a more updated version of Opera or install Firefox.

The installation is stable, however, after running the first two of the above, I ran the third and got the following message:

dpkg was interrupted, you must manually run 'dpkg --configure -a' to correct the problem.

However if I try to run this, the following is returned:

dpkg: parse error, in file `/var/lib/dpkg/available' near line 1:
field name `' must be followed by colon

Being very new to Linux, I am unfamiliar with this message, and it seems that any other apt-get command of any sort, gives these messages. I tried opening the available file up in Kwrite and its basically a bunch of unrecognized characters. I also tried copying the file to a backup file, deleting it, and re-running dpkg and it returns a complaint that there is no "available" file. This is located in /var/lib/dpkg.

Right now I cant install anything because dpkg wnt execute due to this error.

Could anyone please guide me in the direction of reconciling this issue?

Old 03-15-2005, 05:26 PM   #2
Registered: May 2004
Location: North Wales UK
Distribution: Debian Woody Sarge/Sid
Posts: 77

Rep: Reputation: 16

Have a look at the following

Old 03-15-2005, 10:53 PM   #3
Senior Member
Registered: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,553

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warning -- it's been a long time since i used debian
edit: i just went and looked at the libranet sources.list for 2.8
and it's all sarge testing already so i would adjust the instructions bellow to "unstable" or "Sid" if that's where you want to go with it

i don't know how to get you out of the mess back to where you were but this might help you move forward if you are trying to shift to (unstable)
as dist-upgrade would imply

the important point is to change you sources.list to (unstable) and put a # before everything that is not (unstable) then do update before trying to move on
you may want to just rename /etc/apt/preferences if there is one as well unless you understand pinning
important to note here that i am suggesting to move totally to debian unstable (Sid)
and not trying to keep a mixed system or trying to use the libranet "safe"
mixed sytems are possible but an advanced way to do debian

also keep an eye on debian so when "Sid" i think it is becomes testing i would switch back sources to (testing)for a while as they get things sorted out

Last edited by foo_bar_foo; 03-15-2005 at 11:18 PM.
Old 03-15-2005, 11:29 PM   #4
Senior Member
Registered: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,553

Rep: Reputation: 53
oh yea i just though of this after my previous ramblings as a possible sollution to the imediate problem

mv /var/lib/dpkg/available /var/lib/dpkg/availableOLD
touch /var/lib/dpkg/available
apt-get update

this might make everybody happy again


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