[kwlug-disc] is it just me, or is debian package management painful?

Paul Gallaway pgallaway at gmail.com
Fri Aug 14 09:10:30 EDT 2009

No expert here. I use more of a brute force approach when things
break. Luckily, it doesn't happen very often since I attempt stick to
the main repositories. Couple things I didn't see suggested (could
have missed them in one of the earlier threads):

aptitude build-dep foo


apt-get build-dep foo

That will install all the development packages to build the package
you are trying to install. I realize this would bring in a bunch of
development libraries you don't need however, my understanding is that
those development files (foodepends-dev) /typically/ depend on the
corresponding library (foodepends) so everything will be brought in.
Sounds like these extra packages are not ideal to your situation but
that might work.

dpkg -f install foo

That should/could force the package to install even though it's in a
broken state. Follow with:

aptitude -f install


apt-get -f install

Which should pick up on the borked package - as they all use dpkg -
and attempt to resolve dependencies (although it may determine the
best approach is to just remove the broken package...). There are
differences between aptitude and apt-get and how they resolve
dependencies so you may want to give each a try. If you have
dependencies that can't resolve because a version number cannot be
satisfied from the available repositories then you will need to
resolve these manually. You can download debs (dpkg -i) from one of
the repositories suggested (e.g. etch) to install or you could try
your hand at apt-pinning which can have it's own problems. I think
someone already suggested a variation of pinning.

Since you downloaded this deb from the unknown wilds(?), had you
considered that it could be a non-compliant deb? e.g. created from
make checkinstall instead of the proper dpkg tools. Anyway, if there
were a problem with the package it could create problems elsewhere for
dpkg etc.

        all good things. all in good time.

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