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debconf frontend / perl error


I've been having a problem with debconf for a couple days, & noticing
the lack of bug reports or noise about it on the list, suspect it's due
to some weird anomaly on my system. 

It's debian unstable, kernel: 
Linux enlil 2.4.20-2003-03-03 #1 Mon Mar 3 14:38:11 EST 2003 i686 GNU/Linux

package versions involved:
ii  perl           5.8.2-2        Larry Wall's Practical Extraction and Report
ii  dpkg           1.10.18        Package maintenance system for Debian
ii  apt            0.5.14         Advanced front-end for dpkg
ii  aptitude       0.2.13-2       curses-based apt frontend

The error, which is happening with passwd, zsh, cupsys-bsd, and 
common-lisp-controller, whether using aptitude, apt-get or dpkg -i:

kenneth@enlil:/var/cache/apt/archives$ sudo dpkg -i passwd_1%3a4.0.3-15_i386.deb(Reading database ... 103522 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to replace passwd 1:4.0.3-15 (using passwd_1%3a4.0.3-15_i386.deb) ...
Unpacking replacement passwd ...
Setting up passwd (4.0.3-15) ...
/var/lib/dpkg/info/passwd.postinst: /usr/share/debconf/frontend: /usr/bin/perl: bad interpreter: Permission denied
/var/lib/dpkg/info/passwd.postinst: line 13: /usr/share/debconf/frontend: Successdpkg: error processing passwd (--install):
 subprocess post-installation script returned error exit status 1
Errors were encountered while processing:

I'm reluctant to file a bug since it seems nobody else is experiencing
this & I first noticed it on Saturday. 

I saw some messages regarding this error in the archives of the hppa
list, but it turned out to be permission problems in
/var/lib/dpkg/info/, which I don't think is the case here:

kenneth@enlil:/var/cache/apt/archives$ ls -l /var/lib/dpkg/info/passwd*
-rw-r--r--    1 root     root           50 Dec 12 19:11 /var/lib/dpkg/info/passwd.conffiles
-rwxr-xr-x    1 root     root         7565 Dec 11 01:54 /var/lib/dpkg/info/passwd.config
-rw-r--r--    1 root     root         6307 Dec 15 23:48 /var/lib/dpkg/info/passwd.list
-rw-r--r--    1 root     root        10869 Dec 12 19:12 /var/lib/dpkg/info/passwd.md5sums
-rwxr-xr-x    1 root     root          754 Dec 12 19:11 /var/lib/dpkg/info/passwd.postinst
-rwxr-xr-x    1 root     root           64 Dec 12 19:11 /var/lib/dpkg/info/passwd.postrm
-rw-r--r--    1 root     root        27206 Dec 12 19:12 /var/lib/dpkg/info/passwd.templates
kenneth@enlil:/var/cache/apt/archives$ ls -l /usr/share/debconf/
total 24
-rw-r--r--    1 root     root         2183 Dec 15 23:25 confmodule
-rw-r--r--    1 root     root         2822 Dec  1 21:17 confmodule.sh
-rw-r--r--    1 root     root          414 Dec  1 21:17 debconf.conf
-rwxr-xr-x    1 root     root         1999 Dec  1 21:17 fix_db.pl
-rwxr-xr-x    1 root     root         1946 Dec 15 23:46 frontend
-rwxr-xr-x    1 root     root         2390 Dec  1 21:17 transition_db.pl

Any ideas would be appreciated, the errors are holding up
installation/upgrading of all packages.

Thank you,

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