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Re: Getting dselect and apt-* to work from a local file system

Tommy McDaniel wrote:

> I have been trying to get package management going since I installed Debian
> a couple of weeks ago, but have had great difficulties. I am unable to
> connect to the Internet from my Linux partition, so I decided to set up
> apt-setup to use a file system and get everything set up so that I would
> only have to download packages onto my Windows partition and transfer them
> to the appropriate place in Linux and be able to install them. Since using a
> local file%20system isn't the most documented topic in the Debian world, I
> had to learn the hard way to create /dists/stable/***/binary-i386
> directories with the same Package files in them that are on the online
> mirrors, where *** is main, contrib, and non-free. I also transferred the
> Release files for each of those directories and for /dists/stable in order
> to get some "Ign file:" messages to disappear. After all that, I have
> reached a problem that I have no clue regarding the solution to. When I run
> dselect, the first option goes fine, but when it comes time for the second
> option, Update, I get the following:
> Reading Package Lists... Done
> Building Dependency Tree... Done
> Merging Available Information
> Replacing available packages info, using /var/cache/apt/available.
> dpkg: parse error, in file '/var/cache/apt/available' near line 600 package
> 'navigator':
>    duplicate value for user-defined field 'meta-package'
> update available list script returned error exit status 2.
> Press <enter> to continue.
> What in the world does that mean? Whatever it is, I am not generating that
> file to start with, dselect/apt-get is, so I don't know what's going on.
> I've tried just about everything to try to find out what this means,
> including but not limited to looking through most of the documentation on
> the Debian site multiple times, searching the web with Google and ProFusion,
> looking at the source code for dpkg, writing my own little program to find
> every occurrence of lines that start with "meta-package" in the entire file
> (which still doesn't quite report line numbers correctly, but that's another
> matter), searched through the Debian mailing list archives many, many times,
> and probably a bunch of other stuff but apparently I'm the first person in
> world history to experience this, judging by how I haven't even been able to
> find a single mention anything that relates to this. Can anyone help me? I
> want to use dselect, not dpkg directly or anything else. After spending
> weeks trying to get this one aspect of the system to work properly I'm about
> out of nerves. If no one on this list is able to help I will most likely
> just use a different distribution, since I really have no clue what it's
> problem with the meta-package tag is. I'm not changing the file around, it's
> just whining about it's own file. Any help will be most deeply appreciated.
> I really, really want to remain with Debian, but if I can't get it to work I
> don't really have much of an option.

>From what i read, you want to track unstable (or testing) but you can't use
dialup or better with debian to connect to your local mirror, and want to use
dselect (or aptitude or deity or stormpkg...) to choose what package to

I suggest you to take a look in /usr/share/doc/apt/offline.text.gz where is well
explained how to upgrade your system with apt, and with slightly modification
you can achieve your goal.

You need to update your packages list (/var/lib/apt/lists), force dselect to use
the manually downloaded packages list (supposing you have a working apt
sources.list this is done choosing an update from dselect), use dselect to
choose what packages install/remove and finally using apt to create a list of
packages to download following the changes made by dselect, something like this

apt-get -qq --print-uris dselect-upgrade

In a finally note, i really suggest you to read the offline apt doc


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