Archive for the ‘Linux Package Management’ Category

Reinstall all Debian packages with a copy of apt deb package list from another working Debian Linux installation

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020


Few days ago, in the hurry in the small hours of the night, I've done something extremely stupid. Wanting to move out a .tar.gz binary copy of qmail installation to /var/lib/qmail with all the dependent qmail items instead of extracting to admin user /root directory (/root), I've extracted it to the main Operating system root / directrory.
Not noticing this, I've quickly executed rm -rf var with the idea to delete all directory tree under /root/var just 3 seconds later, I've realized I'm issuing the rm -rf var with the wrong location WITH a root user !!!! Being scared on what I've done, I've quickly pressed CTRL+C to immedately cancel the deletion operation of my /var.


But as you can guess, since the machine has an Slid State Drive drive and SSD memory drive are much more faster in I/O operations than the classical ATA / SATA disks. I was not quick enough to cancel the operation and I've noticed already some part of my /var have been R.I.P-pped in the heaven of directories.

This was ofcourse upsetting so for a while I rethinked the situation to get some ideas on what I can do to recover my system ASAP!!! and I had the idea of course to try to reinstall All my installed .deb debian packages to restore system closest to the normal, before my stupid mistake.

Guess my unpleasent suprise when I have realized dpkg and respectively apt-get apt and aptitude package management tools cannot anymore handle packages as Debian Linux's package dependency database has been damaged due to missing dpkg directory 


Oh man that was unpleasent, especially since I've installed plenty of stuff that is custom on my Mate based desktop and, generally reinstalling it updating the sytem to the latest Debian security updates etc. will be time consuming and painful process I wanted to omit.

So of course the logical thing to do here was to try to somehow recover somehow a database copy of /var/lib/dpkg  if that was possible, that of course led me to the idea to lookup for a way to recover my /var/lib/dpkg from backup but since I did not maintained any backup copy of my OS anywhere that was not really possible, so anyways I wondered whether dpkg does not keep some kind of database backups somewhere in case if something goes wrong with its database.
This led me to this nice Ubuntu thred which has pointed me to the part of my root rm -rf dpkg db disaster recovery solution.
Luckily .deb package management creators has thought about situation similar to mine and to give the user a restore point for /var/lib/dpkg damaged database

/var/lib/dpkg is periodically backed up in /var/backups

A typical /var/lib/dpkg on Ubuntu and Debian Linux looks like so:

hipo@jeremiah:/var/backups$ ls -l /var/lib/dpkg
total 12572
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Jul 26 03:22 alternatives
-rw-r–r– 1 root root      11 Oct 14  2017 arch
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 2199402 Jul 25 20:04 available
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 2199402 Oct 19  2017 available-old
-rw-r–r– 1 root root       8 Sep  6  2012 cmethopt
-rw-r–r– 1 root root    1337 Jul 26 01:39 diversions
-rw-r–r– 1 root root    1223 Jul 26 01:39 diversions-old
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root  679936 Jul 28 14:17 info
-rw-r—– 1 root root       0 Jul 28 14:17 lock
-rw-r—– 1 root root       0 Jul 26 03:00 lock-frontend
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Sep 17  2012 parts
-rw-r–r– 1 root root    1011 Jul 25 23:59 statoverride
-rw-r–r– 1 root root     965 Jul 25 23:59 statoverride-old
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 3873710 Jul 28 14:17 status
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 3873712 Jul 28 14:17 status-old
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Jul 26 03:22 triggers
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    4096 Jul 28 14:17 updates

Before proceeding with this radical stuff to move out /var/lib/dpkg/info from another machine to /var mistakenyl removed oned. I have tried to recover with the well known:

  • extundelete
  • foremost
  • recover
  • ext4magic
  • ext3grep
  • gddrescue
  • ddrescue
  • myrescue
  • testdisk
  • photorec

Linux file deletion recovery tools from a USB stick loaded with a Number of LiveCD distributions, i.e. tested recovery with:

  • Debian LiveCD
  • Ubuntu LiveCD
  • SystemRescueCD
  • Trinity Rescue Kit
  • Ultimate Boot CD

but unfortunately none of them couldn't recover the deleted files … 

The reason why the standard file recovery tools could not recover ?

My assumptions is after I've done by rm -rf var; from sysroot,  issued the sync (- if you haven't used it check out man sync) command – that synchronizes cached writes to persistent storage and did a restart from the poweroff PC button, this should have worked, as I've recovered like that in the past) in a normal Sys V System with a normal old fashioned blocks filesystem as EXT2 . or any other of the filesystems without a journal, however as the machine run a EXT4 filesystem with a journald and journald, this did not work perhaps because something was not updated properly in /lib/systemd/systemd-journal, that led to the situation all recently deleted files were totally unrecoverable.

1. First step was to restore the directory skele of /var/lib/dpkg

# mkdir -p /var/lib/dpkg/{alternatives,info,parts,triggers,updates}

2. Recover missing /var/lib/dpkg/status  file

The main file that gives information to dpkg of the existing packages and their statuses on a Debian based systems is /var/lib/dpkg/status

# cp /var/backups/dpkg.status.0 /var/lib/dpkg/status

3. Reinstall dpkg package manager to make package management working again

Say a warm prayer to the Merciful God ! and do:

# apt-get download dpkg
# dpkg -i dpkg*.deb

4. Reinstall base-files .deb package which provides basis of a Debian system

Hopefully everything will be okay and your dpkg / apt pair will be in normal working state, next step is to:

# apt-get download base-files
# dpkg -i base-files*.deb

5. Do a package sanity and consistency check and try to update OS package list

Check whether packages have been installed only partially on your system or that have missing, wrong or obsolete control  data  or  files.  dpkg  should suggest what to do with them to get them fixed.

# dpkg –audit

Then resynchronize (fetch) the package index files from their sources described in /etc/apt/sources.list

# apt-get update

Do apt db constistency check:

#  apt-get check

check is a diagnostic tool; it updates the package cache and checks for broken dependencies.

Take a deep breath ! …

Do :

ls -l /var/lib/dpkg
and compare with the above list. If some -old file is not present don't worry it will be there tomorrow.

Next time don't forget to do a regular backup with simple rsync backup script or something like Bacula / Amanda / Time Vault or Clonezilla.

6. Copy dpkg database from another Linux system that has a working dpkg / apt Database

Well this was however not the end of the story … There were still many things missing from my /var/ and luckily I had another Debian 10 Buster install on another properly working machine with a similar set of .deb packages installed. Therefore to make most of my programs still working again I have copied over /var from the other similar set of package installed machine to my messed up machine with the missing deleted /var.

To do so …
On Functioning Debian 10 Machine (Working Host in a local network with IP, I've archived content of /var:

linux:~# tar -czvf var_backup_debian10.tar.gz /var

Then sftped from Working Host towards the /var deleted broken one in my case this machine's hostname is jericho and luckily still had SSHD and SFTP running processes loaded in memory:

jericho:~# sftp root@
sftp> get var_backup_debian10.tar.gz

Now Before extracting the archive it is a good idea to make backup of old /var remains somewhere for example somewhere in /root 
just in case if we need to have a copy of the dpkg backup dir /var/backups

jericho:~# cp -rpfv /var /root/var_backup_damaged

jericho:~# tar -zxvf /root/var_backup_debian10.tar.gz 
jericho:/# mv /root/var/ /

Then to make my /var/lib/dpkg contain the list of packages from my my broken Linux install I have ovewritten /var/lib/dpkg with the files earlier backupped before  .tar.gz was extracted.

jericho:~# cp -rpfv /var /root/var_backup_damaged/lib/dpkg/ /var/lib/

7. Reinstall All Debian  Packages completely scripts

I then tried to reinstall each and every package first using aptitude with aptitude this is done with

# aptitude reinstall '~i'

However as this failed, tried using a simple shell loop like below:

for i in $(dpkg -l |awk '{ print $2 }'); do echo apt-get install –reinstall –yes $i; done

Alternatively, all .deb package reninstall is also possible with dpkg –get-selections and with awk with below cmds:

dpkg –get-selections | grep -v deinstall | awk '{print $1}' > list.log;
awk '$1=$1' ORS=' ' list.log > newlist.log
apt-get install –reinstall $(cat newlist.log)

It can also be run as one liner for simplicity:

dpkg –get-selections | grep -v deinstall | awk '{print $1}' > list.log; awk '$1=$1' ORS=' ' list.log > newlist.log; apt-get install –reinstall $(cat newlist.log)

This produced a lot of warning messages, reporting "package has no files currently installed" (virtually for all installed packages), indicating a severe packages problem below is sample output produced after each and every package reinstall … :

dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'iproute' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'brscan-skey' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libapache2-mod-php7.4' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libexpat1:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libexpat1:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'php5.6-readline' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'linux-headers-4.19.0-5-amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libgraphite2-3:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libgraphite2-3:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libbonoboui2-0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libxcb-dri3-0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libxcb-dri3-0:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'liblcms2-2:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'liblcms2-2:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libpixman-1-0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libpixman-1-0:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'gksu' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'liblogging-stdlog0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'mesa-vdpau-drivers:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'mesa-vdpau-drivers:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libzvbi0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libzvbi0:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libcdparanoia0:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libcdparanoia0:i386' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'python-gconf' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'php5.6-cli' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package 'libpaper1:amd64' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed
dpkg: warning: files list file for package '' missing; assuming package has no files currently installed

After some attempts I found a way to be able to work around the warning message, for each package by simply reinstalling the package reporting the issue with

apt –reinstall $package_name

Though reinstallation started well and many packages got reinstalled, unfortunately some packages such as apache2-mod-php5.6 and other php related ones  started failing during reinstall ending up in unfixable states right after installation of binaries from packages was successfully placed in its expected locations on disk. The failures occured during the package setup stage ( dpkg –configure $packagename) …

The logical thing to do is a recovery attempt with something like the usual well known by any Debian admin:

apt-get install –fix-missing

As well as Manual requesting to reconfigure (issue re-setup) of all installed packages also did not produced a positive result

dpkg –configure -a

But many packages were still failing due to dpkg inability to execute some post installation scripts from respective .deb files.
To work around that and continue installing the rest of packages I had to manually delete all files related to the failing package located under directory 


For example to omit the post installation failure of libapache2-mod-php5.6 and have a succesful install of the package next time I tried reinstall, I had to delete all /var/lib/dpkg/info/libapache2-mod-php5.6.postrm, /var/lib/dpkg/info/libapache2-mod-php5.6.postinst scripts and even sometimes everything like libapache2-mod-php5.6* that were present in /var/lib/dpkg/info dir.

The problem with this solution, however was the package reporting to install properly, but the post install script hooks were still not in placed and important things as setting permissions of binaries after install or applying some configuration changes right after install was missing leading to programs failing to  fully behave properly or even breaking up even though showing as finely installed …

The final solution to this problem was radical.
I've used /var/lib/dpkg database (directory) from ther other working Linux machine with dpkg DB OK found in var_backup_debian10.tar.gz (linux:~# host with a working dpkg database) and then based on the dpkg package list correct database responding on jericho:~# to reinstall each and every package on the system using Debian System Reinstaller script taken from the internet.
Debian System Reinstaller works but to reinstall many packages, I've been prompted again and again whether to overwrite configuration or keep the present one of packages.
To Omit the annoying [Y / N ] text prompts I had made a slight modification to the script so it finally looked like this:

# Debian System Reinstaller
# Copyright (C) 2015 Albert Huang
# Copyright (C) 2018 Andreas Fendt

# This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
# it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
# the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
# (at your option) any later version.

# This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
# but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
# GNU General Public License for more details.

# You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
# along with this program.  If not, see <>.

# —
# This script assumes you are using a Debian based system
# (Debian, Mint, Ubuntu, #!), and have sudo installed. If you don't
# have sudo installed, replace "sudo" with "su -c" instead.

pkgs=`dpkg –get-selections | grep -w 'install$' | cut -f 1 |  egrep -v '(dpkg|apt)'`

for pkg in $pkgs; do
    echo -e "\033[1m   * Reinstalling:\033[0m $pkg"    

    apt-get –reinstall -o Dpkg::Options::="–force-confdef" -o Dpkg::Options::="–force-confold" -y install $pkg || {
        echo "ERROR: Reinstallation failed. See reinstall.log for details."
        exit 1
done working modified version of Albert Huang and Andreas Fendt script  can be also downloaded here.

Note ! Omitting the text confirmation prompts to install newest config or keep maintainer configuration is handled by the argument:

-o Dpkg::Options::="–force-confold

I however still got few NCurses Console selection prompts during the reinstall of about 3200+ .deb packages, so even with this mod the reinstall was not completely automatic.

Note !  During the reinstall few of the packages from the list failed due to being some old unsupported packages this was ejabberd, ircd-hybrid and a 2 / 3 more.
This failure was easily solved by completely purging those packages with the usual

# dpkg –purge $packagename

and reruninng on each of the failing packages.

Note ! The failing packages were just old ones left over from Debian 8 and Debian 9 before the apt-get dist-upgrade towards 10 Duster.
Eventually I got a success by God's grance, after few hours of pains and trials, ending up in a working state package database and a complete set of freshly reinstalled packages.

The only thing I had to do finally is 2 hours of tampering why GNOME did not automatically booted after the system reboot due to failing gdm
until I fixed that I've temprary used ligthdm (x-display-manager), to do I've

dpkg –reconfigure gdm3


 to work around this I had to also reinstall few libraries, reinstall the xorg-server, reinstall gdm and reinstall the meta package for GNOME, using below set of commands:

apt-get install –reinstall libglw1-mesa libglx-mesa0
apt-get install –reinstall libglu1-mesa-dev
apt install –reinstallgsettings-desktop-schemas
apt-get install –reinstall xserver-xorg-video-intel
apt-get install –reinstall xserver-xorg
apt-get install –reinstall xserver-xorg-core
apt-get install –reinstall task-desktop
apt-get install –reinstall task-gnome-desktop

As some packages did not ended re-instaled on system because on the original host from where /var/lib/dpkg db was copied did not have it I had to eventually manually trigger reinstall for those too:

apt-get install –reinstall –yes vlc
apt-get install –reinstall –yes thunderbird
apt-get install –reinstall –yes audacity
apt-get install –reinstall –yes gajim
apt-get install –reinstall –yes slack remmina
apt-get install –yes k3b
pt-get install –yes gbgoffice
pt-get install –reinstall –yes skypeforlinux
apt-get install –reinstall –yes vlc
apt-get install –reinstall –yes libcurl3-gnutls libcurl3-nss
apt-get install –yes virtualbox-5.2
apt-get install –reinstall –yes vlc
apt-get install –reinstall –yes alsa-tools-gui
apt-get install –reinstall –yes gftp
apt install ./teamviewer_15.3.2682_amd64.deb –yes

Note that some of above packages requires a properly configured third party repositories, other people might have other packages that are missing from the dpkg list and needs to be reinstalled so just decide according to your own case of left aside working system present binaries that doesn't belong to any dpkg installed package.

After a bit of struggle everything is back to normal Thanks God! 🙂 !

Fix KDE Plasma fails to load: “All shell packages missing. This is an installation issue, please contact your distribution” in Kubuntu Linux

Friday, September 27th, 2019


I've been called yesterday by a friend who has referred me to a friend of him Zvezdomir from Gabrovo who had installation of Kubuntu Desktop Linux by some other colleague but then suddenly the colleague decided to leave the country thus the Kubuntu become completely unmanaged.
In the spirit of Murphy's laws soon after it broke and as the HDD was filled with a lot of important pictures data I received the call with a beseech to help him fix his existing broken Kubuntu installation on the relatively old IBM thinkpad notebook. 
No problem,  I switched the role of a Linux Desktop user tech support  as it is part of daily job of every system admini to be on the hotline for computer medication and never say no to incoming requests 🙂

It seems the guy had messed up his Graphical Environment when as a Linux novice user decided to experiment with changing environments, he used to be using GNOME and then due to some issues with some of the Image Viewer eog – Eye of Gnome / Shotwell / Gpaint whose borders was not showing properly or something he decided to Switch to KDE Plasma. This was successful but as he continued to try out things on the Linux he broke it up badly so after the machine booted he was getting the error after boot of Xorg  Plasma was producing below error.


"All shell packages missing. This is an installation issue, please contact your distribution"

After spending about 30 minutes on the phone explaining him how to switch to Console as he had even no basic concepts about how to manage his Linux box, the problem was solved below are few steps taken to fix All shell packages missing issue

1. Press Ctrl + Alt + F2 Simultaneously

Usually historically switching to console on GNU / Linux was possible with CTRL + ALT + F1 but this was changed as often newer Linux distros do use TTY1 console to launch the X GUI environment.
Here we had some struggles to explain him where F1 as he thought he is supposed to press CTRL + ALT + S + 2 (perhaps misheard on the phone …) and was panicing how he is supposed to press 4 buttons simultaneously after a while it was cleared it is CTRL + ALT + F2 …
PS. In some of the other Ubuntus Lubuntu or older Ubuntus if CTRL + ALT + F2 doesn't work,

some of the other Virtual Text Consoles should be accessible with CTRL + ALT + F3CTRL + ALT + F4 etc.

2.  Login with your user login name

Once the login: field appears I had to explain him about 10 times how he should type his non-privileged user as it is always the case with computer novice. I had to stress here he should press Enter after the username / login is typed …

3. Become root (superuser) after standard login with:

sudo su

3. If the machine is not connected to internet (this might be the case if errors are produced on below 4. 5. steps)

Assuming you're already superuser (root) and you have no internet because the Network Manager is unable to connect due to failure of KDE Plasma to start, in order to connect to lets say already configured WI-Fi home wireless router,
restart networking with

service NetworkManager restart

Since internet connectivity will be required in order to be able to install the missing packages and update the package repositories, next test whether internet is reachable.

PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=1 ttl=56 time=15.2 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=2 ttl=56 time=11.5 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=3 ttl=56 time=6.00 ms
— ping statistics —
3 packets transmitted, 3 received, 0% packet loss, time 5ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 6.003/10.892/15.220/3.783 ms

N.B.! We had stumble blocks here too, as the Wi-Fi router seemed to be far away from the room where the PC was, after he moved to the other room where Signal was fine and re-issuing the service NetworkManager restart ping worked.

4. Next to get the latest list with available installable packages on the Ubuntu run the usual

apt-get update

5. Do install / reinstall kubuntu-desktop meta package

Finally to Fix the broken desktop GUI (that is not appearing instead of the Plasma login

apt-get install –yes kubuntu-desktop

Finally reboot the Laptop with reboot cmd:


On next boot Kubuntu's usual login screen should be as it used to be until you have broken your package system with tampering with the packages.

And Hooray ! It works again 🙂

By the way as I googled a bit to investigate futher, the problem seems to be common and the solution with a lot of fuzzling is given also pointed as an bug in Ubuntu's launchpad here

Upgrade Debian Linux 9 to 10 Stretch to Buster and Disable graphical service load boot on Debian 10 Linux / Debian Buster is out

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019


I've just took a time to upgrade my Debian 9 Stretch Linux to Debian Buster on my old school Laptop (that turned 11 years old) Lenovo Thinkpad R61 . The upgrade went more or less without severe issues except few things.

The overall procedure followed is described n a few websites out there already and comes up to;

0. Set the proper repository location in /etc/apt/sources.list

Before update the sources.list used are:

deb [arch=amd64,i386] buster main contrib non-free
deb-src [arch=amd64,i386] buster main contrib non-free

deb [arch=amd64,i386] buster/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src [arch=amd64,i386] buster/updates main contrib non-free

deb [arch=amd64,i386] buster-updates main contrib non-free
deb-src [arch=amd64,i386] buster-updates main contrib non-free

deb buster-backports main

For people that had stretch defined in /etc/apt/sources.list you should change them to buster or stable, easiest and quickest way to omit editting with vim / nano etc. is run as root or via sudo:

sed -i 's/stretch/buster/g' /etc/apt/sources.list
sed -i 's/stretch/buster/g' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/*.list

The minimum of config in sources.list after the modification should be

deb buster main
deb buster-updates main
deb buster/updates main

Or if you want to always be with latest stable packages (which is my practice for notebooks):

deb stable main
deb stable-updates main
deb stable/updates main

1. Getting list of hold packages if such exist and unholding them, e.g.

apt-mark showhold

Same could also be done via dpkg

dpkg –get-selections | grep hold

To unhold a package if such is found:

echo "package_name install"|sudo dpkg –set-selections

For those who don't know what hold package is this is usually package you want to keep at certain version all the time even though after running apt-get upgrade to get the latest package versions.

2. Use df -h and assure you have at least 5 – 10 GB free space on root directory / before proceed

df -h /

3. Update packages list to set new set repos as default

apt update

4. apt upgrade

apt upgrade

Here some 10 – 15 times you have to confirm what you want to do with configuration that has changed if you're unsure about the config (and it is not critical service) you're aware as such as Apache / MySQL / SMTP etc. it is best to install the latest maintainer version.

Hopefully here you will not get fatal errors that will interrupt it.

P.S. It is best to run apt-update either in VTTY (Virtual console session) with screen or tmux or via a physical tty (if this is not a remote server) as during the updates your GUI access to the gnome-terminal or konsole / xterm whatever console used might get cut. Thus it is best to do it with command:

screen apt upgrade

5. Run dist-upgrade to finalize the upgrade from Stertch to Buster

Once all is completed of the new installed packages, you will need to finally do, once again it is best to run via screen, if you don't have installed screen install it:

if [ $(which screen) ]; then echo 'Installed'; else apt-get install –yes screen ; fi

screen apt dist-upgrade

Here once again you should set whether old configuration to some e services has to stay or the new Debian maintainer package shipped one will overwrite the old and locally modified (due to some reason), here do wisely whatever you will otherwise some configured services might not boot as expected on next boot.

6. What if you get packages failed on update

If you get a certain package failed to configure after installed due to some reason, if it is a systemd service use:


journalctl -xe |head -n 50

or fully observer output of journalctl -xe and decide on yourself.

In most cases

dpkg-reconfigure failed-package-name

should do the trick or at least give you more hints on how to solve it.

Also if a package seems to be in inconsistent or broken state after upgrade  and simple dpkg-reconfigure doesn't help, a good command
that can help you is


dpkg-reconfigure -f package_name


or you can try to workaround a failed package setup with:

dpkg –configure -a

If dpkg-reconfigure doesn't help either as I experienced in prior of Debian from Debian 6 -> 7 an Debian 7 ->8 updates on some Computers, then a very useful thing to try is:

apt-get update –fix-missing 

apt-get install -f

At certain cases the only work around to be able to complete the package upgrade is to to remove the package with apt remove but due to config errors even that is not possible to work around this as final resort run:

dpkg –remove –force-remove-reinstreq


7. Clean up ununeeded packages

Some packages are left over due to package dependencies from Stretch and not needed in buster anymore to remove them.

apt autoremove


8. Reboot system once all upgrade is over


9. Verify your just upgraded Debian is in a good state

root@noah:~# uname -a;
Linux noah 4.19.0-5-rt-amd64 #1 SMP PREEMPT RT Debian 4.19.37-5 (2019-06-19) x86_64 GNU/Linux


root@noah:~# cat /etc/
Debian GNU/Linux 10


root@noah:~# lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID:    Debian
Description:    Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster)
Release:    10
Codename:    buster

root@noah:~# hostnamectl
   Static hostname: noah
         Icon name: computer-laptop
           Chassis: laptop
        Machine ID: 4759d9c2f20265938692146351a07929
           Boot ID: 256eb64ffa5e413b8f959f7ef43d919f
  Operating System: Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster)
            Kernel: Linux 4.19.0-5-rt-amd64
      Architecture: x86-64

10. Remove annoying picture short animation with debian logo looping


By default Debian 10 boots up with annoying screen hiding all the status of loaded services state .e.g. you cannot see the services that shows in [ FAILED ] state and  which do show as [ OK ] to revert back the old behavior I'm used to for historical reasons and as it shows a lot of good Boot time debugging info, in previous Debian distributions this was possible  by setting the right configuration options in /etc/default/grub

which so far in my config was like so

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash scsi_mod.use_blk_mq=y dm_mod.use_blk_mq=y zswap.enabled=1 text"

Note that zswap.enabled=1 passed option is because my notebook is pretty old machine from 2008 with 4GB of memory and zswap does accelerate performance when working with swap – especially helpful on Older PCs for more you can read more about zswap on ArchLinux wiki
After modifying this configuration to load the new config into grub the cmd is:


As this was not working and tried number of reboots finally I found that annoying animated gif like picture shown up is caused by plymouth below is excerpts from Plymouth's manual page:

       "The plymouth sends commands to a running plymouthd. This is used during the boot process to control the display of the graphical boot splash."

Plymouth has a set of themes one can set:


# plymouth-set-default-theme -l


I tried to change that theme to make the boot process as text boot as I'm used to historically with cmd:

update-alternatives –config text.plymouth

As after reboot I hoped the PC will start booting in text but this does not happened so the final fix to turn back to textmode service boot was to completely remove plymouth

apt-get remove –yes plymouth

How to fix unfixable broken package dependencies on Debian GNU / Linux – Fix package mismatch

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017


I just tried to upgrade my Debian Wheezy 7 to the latest stable Debian Stretch 9 by not thinking too much and just changing the word wheezy with stretch in /etc/apt/sources.list so onwards on it looked like so:

cat /etc/apt/sources.list

deb stretch main contrib non-free
deb-src stretch main

deb stretch/updates main
deb-src stretch/updates main 

# stretch-updates, previously known as 'volatile'
##deb stretch-updates main
deb-src stretch-updates main

I also make sure all the defined Google Chrome / Opera / Skype and Squeeze Backports repositories existent in /etc/apt/sources.list.d directory files which in my case were like so;

root@noah:/etc/apt/sources.list.d# ls
google-chrome.list  opera-stable.list  squeeze-backports.list
opera.list          skype-stable.list

 were commented out because they were producing extra apt update errors …

And afterwards ran as usual:

apt-get update
apt-get –yes upgrade

The upgrade command executed fine and a lot of packages got downloaded and reinstalled without much issue, so I thought everything would be fine and just proceeded with the attempt to finalize the distribution major release 7 to major release 9 by running:

apt-get –yes dist-upgrade

But guess what now I got some dependency errors with cron and other installed packages that depend on package versions that are not going to be installed as the apt-get tool informed me.

I tried to out-smart the dpkg dependency system and removed all the packages reporting to have a missing dependencies with a short for bash loop after duming all the problematic packages showing dependency issues with commands such as:

apt-get -f dist-upgrade >> out.txt
for i in $(cat out.txt); awk '{ print $1 }' >> to_delete.txt; done

Before proceeding further I had to manually edit few lines in a text editor to remove some of the junk left from apt-get too.

So i was brave and just removed the dependency missing packages with following other for loop:

for i in $(cat to_delete.txt); do dpkg -r –force-all $i; done

Now I was hoping that rerunning:

apt-get autoremove

dpkg --configure -a

apt-get update -f
apt-get dist-upgrade -f

would no longer complain and I would just install the removed packages in another for shell loop once every other packages gets installed.

But guess what I was wrong … the system entered into another bunch of depedency terribly issues and messed up so badly that there were at least 50 packages reporting to have a missing / broken or uninstallable deb version depedency …

I got totally Angry, I knew already from experience that just trying to jump over while skipping a major release e.g. upgrade Debian 7 to Debian 9, instead of first upgrading to Debian 8 Linux and then upgrading Debian 8 to Debian 9 have always produced the same mess but I was lame and stupid again to f**k it up and I was out of mind swearing (a truly bad habid I'm not proud of) …

So as the notebook with Linux so far was perfectly working with Debian 7 and had a tons of old installed software and I was in a state where if I restart the system it was very likely my Thinkpad r61 laptop won't boot at all, I googled around to find a solution unfortunately without any luck, so finally I used the good old and tested method to DO IT MYSELF and Find the Fix without Uncle Google's help and by God's grace I did, after experimenting a while with the aptitude package / install / remove update tool without much success, finally I find the solution to the totally messed up Debian package dependencies and it all came to a simply reverting back my /etc/apt/source.list to look like following:

# deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 7.0.0 _Wheezy_ – Official amd64 CD Binary-1 20130504-14:44]/ wheezy main

##deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 7.0.0 _Wheezy_ – Official amd64 CD Binary-1 20130504-14:44]/ wheezy main

deb wheezy main contrib non-free
deb-src wheezy main

deb wheezy/updates main
deb-src wheezy/updates main

# wheezy-updates, previously known as 'volatile'
##deb wheezy-updates main
deb-src wheezy-updates main
##deb wheezy main non-free
#deb wheezy-backports main
###deb wheezy-backports main contrib non-free
##deb wheezy main
#deb wheezy/volatile main
###deb wheezy main non-free

run of the following two depedency fix commands !!!!

aptitude upgrade –full-resolver

aptitude full-upgrade –full-resolver

After a while a Debian LinuxOS system downgrade was initated and the missing packages were found, downloaded from the correct wheezy repositories and all broken and missing dependencies packages were fixed !!! HOORAY IT WORKS AGAIN!!