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Bug#939885: dpkg: unrecoverable fatal error: unknown system group 'smmsp' in statoverride file

Package: sendmail-bin
Version: 8.15.2-14~deb10u1
Severity: normal

Dear Maintainer,

Given the following commands are run on a fresh buster install:

apt install sendmail
apt install postfix
apt autoremove --purge

When I try to install any package, e.g. apt install mutt
Then I get an error:

dpkg: unrecoverable fatal error, aborting:
 unknown system group 'smmsp' in statoverride file; the system group got removed
before the override, which is most probably a packaging bug, to recover you
can remove the override manually with dpkg-statoverride
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (2)

This error effectively blocks the installation of any further package.

When in this state, the package sendmail-bin is removed, but not purged.

The problem goes away after running the following command:

apt purge sendmail-bin

-- System Information:
Debian Release: 10.1
  APT prefers stable-updates
  APT policy: (500, 'stable-updates'), (500, 'stable')
Architecture: amd64 (x86_64)

Kernel: Linux 4.19.0-6-cloud-amd64 (SMP w/1 CPU core)
Locale: LANG=en_US.UTF-8, LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8 (charmap=UTF-8), LANGUAGE=en_US.UTF-8 (charmap=UTF-8)
Shell: /bin/sh linked to /usr/bin/dash
Init: systemd (via /run/systemd/system)
LSM: AppArmor: enabled

Versions of packages sendmail-bin depends on:
ii  debconf        1.5.71
ii  libc6          2.28-10
ii  libdb5.3       5.3.28+dfsg1-0.5
ii  libldap-2.4-2  2.4.47+dfsg-3+deb10u1
pn  liblockfile1   <none>
ii  libsasl2-2     2.1.27+dfsg-1
ii  libssl1.1      1.1.1c-1
ii  libwrap0       7.6.q-28
ii  lsb-base       10.2019051400
ii  procps         2:3.3.15-2
pn  sendmail-base  <none>
pn  sendmail-cf    <none>

sendmail-bin recommends no packages.

Versions of packages sendmail-bin suggests:
ii  libsasl2-modules  2.1.27+dfsg-1
ii  openssl           1.1.1c-1
pn  sasl2-bin         <none>
pn  sendmail-doc      <none>

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