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removal of essential packages

Once again I spent a lot of time with the debian package system. It seems
to be impossible to remove an essential package although dpkg offers
an option. When I am issuing the command

    dpkg --force-remove-essential perl-base

only a help message is displayed. This is frustrating since 

    dpkg --force-help

displays the command as valid. I am not able to install a lot of important
packages since I have to replace perl-base v. 5.004 with v. 5.005 and the
5.004 perl with the newest one. I am stuck again with a debian package
problem. These problems are consuming most of the time for administering
the system (my next system will be slackware).


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