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Re: unable to parse package file; aptitude effectively dead.

On Thu, 2007-01-04 at 10:45 -0500, hendrik@topoi.pooq.com wrote:
> While I'm waiting for someone to *fix* bug 405506, does anyone have an 
> idea how to recover from it?  Is a reinstall in order?
> Yesterday aptitude reported
>   Unable to parse package file /var/lib/aptitude/pkgstates
> This happened on an etch that was just installed the same day from a 
> previous-day netinstall daily build.
> The file does exist, and appears to be binary gibberish.
> There's also a pkgstates.old file, about one minute older, in the same 
> directory.  Should I try replacing pkgstates by pkgstates.old in the 
> hope that will help?  I'm reluctant to do this without some idea just 
> what role this file plays in aptitude.  It doesn't seem to be the 
> downloaded, consolidated list of available packages, since updating has 
> no effect on it.

AFAIK, that file keeps track of what packages were installed to satisfy
depends. Replacing the broken file with the backup copy should solve
your problem, but you might lose track of a few automatically installed
packages. No big deal really, and not something I think should warrant a

See also, http://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2006/06/msg01047.html

As for your bug, 405506, I wouldn't hope for a quick fix. I'm guessing
something went wrong with the filesystem when you had to reboot and the
file got corrupted. Not the first time this have happened, but hopefully
aptitude will be able to handle this gracefully in the future. See bug
400962 about that.

Sven Arvidsson
PGP Key ID 760BDD22

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