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Crash in fork.c on everything = install hosed


I'm running unstable, and did an apt-get dist-upgrade this evening. The result was a crash in dpkg with the following error message:

apt-get: ../nptl/sysdeps/unix/sysv/linux/fork.c:132: __libc_fork: Assertion `({ __typeof (self->tid) __value; if (sizeof (__value) == 1) asm volatile ("movb %%gs:%P2,%b0" : "=q" (__value) : "0" (0), "i" (((size_t) &((struct pthread *)0)->tid))); else if (sizeof (__value) == 4) asm volatile ("movl %%gs:%P1,%0" : "=r" (__value) : "i" (((size_t) &((struct pthread *)0)->tid))); else { if (sizeof (__value) != 8) abort (); asm volatile ("movl %%gs:%P1,%%eax\n\t" "movl %%gs:%P2,%%edx" : "=A" (__value) : "i" (((size_t) &((struct pthread *)0)->tid)), "i" (((size_t) &((struct pthread *)0)->tid) + 4)); } __value; }) != ppid' failed. E: Sub-process /usr/sbin/dpkg-preconfigure --apt || true received a segmentation fault.
E: Failure running script /usr/sbin/dpkg-preconfigure --apt || true

Near as I can tell, this is an assertion somewhere in the bowels of libc - a nasty place for things to go wrong. The error seems to be affecting anything trying to do certain type of fork() operations. Among others, it has taken out apt-get and dpkg :-(

Has anyone (a) seen anything like this (b) got a clue what's causing it or (even better) know how I might go about fixing this? Right now the system is still usable for most things, but I don't know how a reboot would fare, nor how to fix the problem in the areas already affected.

Thanks in advance for any help anyone can give!


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