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apt-get has stopped working on my machine


I sent an email to the list on Saturday, but I have been unable to discover 
what is wrong with apt-get on my machine. Dselect & dpkg work fine, but 
apt-get fails, saying :

Reading Package Lists... Error!
E: Unable to parse package file /var/lib/dpkg/status (1)
E: The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.

(It doesn't matter what I try to do - update, install, remove, etc... I 
always get this error message).

I have taken a look at the file in question, but I cannot see anything wrong 
with it. However, it is 1.7 meg in size :-) and I really don't think 
searching it line by line is going to be a good solution.

Is there any way that I can get apt-get to be more verbose about exactly 
where the parsing error is occurring and what it is? I have looked for a 
newer version of apt-get than the one I have, but I don't think one has come 
out yet.

Where can I get an older version from, to try that? I am running 
testing/unstable and apt-get appears to be the same version in both, and 
trying to go back to stable would be more hassle than it's worth!

Are there any other hints of things to try to get apt working again, without 
doing a full reinstall which would be total overkill :-)

Jason Wood
Persistence is a virtue

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