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How to upgrade a package safely?


this happened to me for the second time, and I don't want to reinstall the
whole system again in the future:

Everythig worked fine, I was quite happy not to use win95.
Then I decided to update some packages. I downloaded some newer packages,
run dselect, and selected only xbase (X was not running). The upgrading
ended with many error messages like this:
file ... is a circular link ...
cannot proceed, /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xserver is a directory

Then I tried to remove xbase but it didn't work.

The same thing happened to me few moths ago, so I knew what to expect. I
quit dselect and run fsck. But it made everything even worse, many important
(system) files were moved to /lost&found , which furthermore got many not
existing files, when I did ls -l, the output was:
#045236 file does not exist
and so on

dselect was not working any more because all configuration files were gone.
I shut down the system and decided to try to fix it tomorow.

Then during next booting, kernel complained about missing files and later
fsck started to fix the filesystem again. After that every command I typed,
printed file system error messages. And the worst thing was that e2fsck
couldn't even recognise the file system. 

Now I'm busy with reinstalling everything. The same thing happened few
months ago (actually I tried to upgrade packages only two times and both
times ended with compete reinstalation). 

My question is, what is the safe way to upgrade some package? Should I
remove it first? 

Thanks for any hints,


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