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Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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6.3.2 APT upgrade troubleshooting

Package dependency problems may occur when upgrading in unstable or testing as described in Upgrading, Section 5.3. Most of the time this is because a package that will be upgraded Depends on a package that is not yet available. These problems are fixed by using

     # aptitude dist-upgrade

If this does not work, then repeat one of the following until the problem resolves itself:

     # aptitude -f upgrade        # continue upgrade even after error
     ... or
     # aptitude -f dist-upgrade   # continue dist-upgrade even after error

Some really broken upgrade scripts may cause persistent trouble. It is usually better to resolve this type of situation by inspecting the /var/lib/dpkg/info/packagename.{post,pre}{inst,rm} scripts of the offending package and then running:

     # dpkg --configure -a    # configures all partially installed packages

If a script complains about a missing configuration file, look in /etc/ for the corresponding configuration file. If one exists with an extension of .dpkg-new (or something similar), mv it to remove the suffix.

Package dependency problems may occur when installing in unstable or testing. There are ways to circumvent dependencies.

     # aptitude -f install package # override broken dependencies

An alternative method to fix these situations is to use the equivs package. See /usr/share/doc/equivs/README.Debian and The equivs package, Section 6.5.2.

Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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