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Bug#172339: apt feeds packages with circular deps to dpkg problematically

Package: apt
Version: 0.5.4
Severity: important


it seems that joeyh's Mail was not regognized. So I file a new Bug

Joey wrote:

--- snip ---
Package: apt
Version: probably 0.5.4

Gaute Hvoslef Kvalnes wrote:

Gaute Hvoslef Kvalnes wrote:
> There's a (Norwegian) bug report at Skulelinux:
> <URL: http://bugs.skulelinux.no/show_bug.cgi?id=220 >
> ... with this installation log, from which the excerpt in bug#165036 was
> retrieved:
> <URL: http://bugs.skulelinux.no/showattachment.cgi?attach_id=29 >
> I don't see any sign of openoffice.org failing to configure. dpkg just tries
> to configure openoffice.org-l10n-en first, and fails.The order of
> configuration seems random. Another installation log, using a slightly
> different set of packages, chooses openoffice.org first and succeeds:

I've talked to the dpkg people, and dpkg apparently will do the right
thing if asked to configure both packages in the cycle in the same dpkg
run. (Namely, it will break the cycle.) As near as we can tell, what
happens in this transcript is apt is panicing because so many packages
are to be installed, and feeding them to dpkg --unpack in chunks. Then
at the end, it is using dpkg --configure, and instead of doing just a
single configure run with --all or a full list of packages, it is
passing it small shunks of packages to configure. Or maybe just one at a

Either way, in this case dpkg is asked to configure
openoffice.org-l10n-en and is not asked to configure openoffice.org in
the same run. And so it blows up.

So this doesn't just effect openoffice, but can randomly affect any pair
of packages with a dependency cycle if they're installed along with a
lot of other packages and apt begins chunking things like this. So it'll
tend to hit new debian installs.

From irc:

<elmo_home> I think this is the apt thing where it has a hardcoded limit
on how much it'll feed dpkg in any one go
<wiggy> apt seems to always do that
<wiggy> elmo_home: could very well be
<joeyh> so it tells dpkg to just unpack stuff in the first run? Yugh
<elmo_home> and it's basically set too low if you're installing a bucket
load of packages.. mostly it only bites buildds, but if this is a
freshish install it could bite you there too
<Kamion> apt CVS appears to make that configurable
<Kamion> I don't understand why it can't just be nuked though - kernel
argv limits?
<elmo_home> Kamion: apparently it broke older dpkg's and culus is
paranoid *shrug*

Apt could use bigger chunks (making this scenario much less likely
anyhow), or use the new dpkg control pipe stuff, or I suppose it could
detect cycles and make sure dpkg is asked to configure them all at the
same time,

Until this is fixed, you OOo guys might be justified in removing the
cycle. Of course since any of our many other dependency cycles can also
trigger the behavior, that is as best a very weak workaround.

--- snip ---



-- System Information:
Debian Release: testing/unstable
Architecture: i386
Kernel: Linux stan 2.4.18 #1 Son Nov 3 01:29:12 CET 2002 i686
Locale: LANG=de_DE@euro, LC_CTYPE=de_DE@euro

Versions of packages apt depends on:
ii  libc6                        2.3.1-5     GNU C Library: Shared libraries an
ii  libstdc++2.10-glibc2.2       1:2.95.4-15 The GNU stdc++ library

-- no debconf information

 .''`.  Rene Engelhard -- Debian GNU/Linux Developer
 : :' : http://www.debian.org | http://people.debian.org/~rene/
 `. `'  rene@debian.org | GnuPG-Key ID: 248AEB73
   `-   Fingerprint: 41FA F208 28D4 7CA5 19BB  7AD9 F859 90B0 248A EB73

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