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serious apt error after aptitude catastrophe


tried switching to aptitude and, while I was't looking, aptitude
started to uninstall a whole slew of fundamental packages from my
computer!  now I have to reinstall them, but the Sid glibc backage
seems to have aserious conflict with sysinit: 

Note, selecting libc6 instead of glibc-2.3.2.ds1-11
Suggested packages:
1 packages upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 753 not
2 packages not fully installed or removed.
Need to get 0B/4211kB of archives.
After unpacking 20.5kB of additional disk space will be used.
(Reading database ... 136582 files and directories currently
Preparing to replace libc6 2.3.2.ds1-10 (using
.../libc6_2.3.2.ds1-11_powerpc.deb) ...
Unpacking replacement libc6 ...
dpkg: error processing
/var/cache/apt/archives/libc6_2.3.2.ds1-11_powerpc.deb (--unpack):
 trying to overwrite `/etc/default/devpts', which is also in package
Errors were encountered while processing:
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)
Is there a trick for getting around a fundamental conflict like this
one?  My system is pretty well disabled at the moment (e.g., I'm
missing "less" and can't install it!any clues?

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