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Installing avahi-daemon seems to have nuked my system

I'm working on the aforementioned Helios system (512MB disk space,
256MB RAM, no swap, linx 2.6.32-5-486). Things were going great, I had
the dropbear SSH server up and running, and then (over SSH) I tried to
install avahi-daemon from the Emdebian archives...

My SSH term became unresponsive, so I walked over to the machine to
see the caps lock and scroll lock lights blinking, and the end of a
kernel trace on the screen (unfortunately the top was cut off). When I
rebooted, fsck needed to be re-run manually, and there was a LOT to
clean up. Now I can't even log in as root because when I try I see the
typical "Last login: ..." stuff, followed by:

No directory, logging in with HOME=/
Cannot execute ::: No such file or directory

...then back to the login prompt. I CAN log in under recovery mode, though.

The "::: No such file..." thing is un-Google-able because of the
":::". So where do I start to rescue this? There's no huge panic on my
part, since this is a development system with no personal data on it
and I can just start over, but I'd like to give it a shot if there's
something that takes less than a day (and for my own personal
curiosity, and general desire to increase my deb-fu).

And could it really have been installing avahi-daemon that did this? I
can't imagine why or how...

- Jason

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