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Error using dpkg-gencontrol and dpkg-shlibdeps

I'm building a debian package for the first time and have run
into a problem with dpkg-gencontrol and dpkg-shlibdeps.  Here are
the outputs from both:

# dpkg-shlibdeps debian/tmp/opt/wn-1.17.2-1/sbin/*wn*
dpkg-shlibdeps: failure: chown of `debian/substvars.new': No such file or directory

# dpkg-gencontrol 
dpkg-gencontrol: failure: chown new files list file: Illegal see

In both cases the required file (debian/substvars.new and
debian/files.new) exists.  I used su to change to root before
executing.  It seems to be some type of permission problem with
using chown.  I can get around the problem with dpkg-shlibdeps by
using the -O option.  Could the fact that these are perl scripts
have anything to do with this?

Any ideas?

--- Jean Pierre

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