Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

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Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby IG-89 » 2015-10-09 00:04

Hello. I am in a bad spot at the moment and I am not sure how to proceed. I came home today and my Debian 8 box was displaying an unhappy face with a "oh no! something has gone wrong and the system cannot recover" message. The message had a log out prompt but nothing else, and as it was displaying before I had the chance to login there was no way for me to log out. From the console I was able to startx and log into a gnome session. I have xfce installed as well so I am using that now. I thought that the problem was with gnome so I purged gnome from my system and attempted to reinstall it but now I am having some serious issues more generally. I am unable to reinstall gnome or any other environment, even using tasksel. When I try to install gnome or kde via tasksel it gives me this error: "tasksel: apt-get failed (100)" and that's it. Furthermore, when I attempt to install gnome or kde from the command line or with aptitude I am simply told that there are huge numbers of unmet dependencies and that nothing will be installed (The error is "E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.."). Furthermore things like libreoffice seem to have disappeared, although I don't seem to have lost any data.

Does anyone know what is wrong with my tasksel, and perhaps more generally, why I would not be able to use aptitude to install kde or gnome?

Thanks for any help that anyone can provide, I am very lost.
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Re: Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby fireExit » 2015-10-09 00:09

output of
Code: Select all
apt-cache policy
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Re: Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby IG-89 » 2015-10-09 00:16

Hi, here is the output.

Code: Select all
$ apt-cache policy
Package files:
 100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
     release a=now
 500 http://http.debian.net/debian/ jessie-backports/non-free Translation-en
 500 http://http.debian.net/debian/ jessie-backports/main Translation-en
 500 http://http.debian.net/debian/ jessie-backports/contrib Translation-en
 100 http://http.debian.net/debian/ jessie-backports/non-free amd64 Packages
     release o=Debian Backports,a=jessie-backports,n=jessie-backports,l=Debian Backports,c=non-free
     origin http.debian.net
 100 http://http.debian.net/debian/ jessie-backports/contrib amd64 Packages
     release o=Debian Backports,a=jessie-backports,n=jessie-backports,l=Debian Backports,c=contrib
     origin http.debian.net
 100 http://http.debian.net/debian/ jessie-backports/main amd64 Packages
     release o=Debian Backports,a=jessie-backports,n=jessie-backports,l=Debian Backports,c=main
     origin http.debian.net
 500 http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie-updates/non-free Translation-en
 500 http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie-updates/main Translation-en
 500 http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie-updates/contrib Translation-en
 500 http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie-updates/non-free amd64 Packages
     release o=Debian,a=stable-updates,n=jessie-updates,l=Debian,c=non-free
     origin httpredir.debian.org
 500 http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie-updates/contrib amd64 Packages
     release o=Debian,a=stable-updates,n=jessie-updates,l=Debian,c=contrib
     origin httpredir.debian.org
 500 http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie-updates/main amd64 Packages
     release o=Debian,a=stable-updates,n=jessie-updates,l=Debian,c=main
     origin httpredir.debian.org
 500 http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates/non-free Translation-en
 500 http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates/main Translation-en
 500 http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates/contrib Translation-en
 500 http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates/non-free amd64 Packages
     release v=8,o=Debian,a=stable,n=jessie,l=Debian-Security,c=non-free
     origin security.debian.org
 500 http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates/contrib amd64 Packages
     release v=8,o=Debian,a=stable,n=jessie,l=Debian-Security,c=contrib
     origin security.debian.org
 500 http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates/main amd64 Packages
     release v=8,o=Debian,a=stable,n=jessie,l=Debian-Security,c=main
     origin security.debian.org
 500 http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie/non-free Translation-en
 500 http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie/main Translation-en
 500 http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie/contrib Translation-en
 500 http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie/non-free amd64 Packages
     release v=8.2,o=Debian,a=stable,n=jessie,l=Debian,c=non-free
     origin httpredir.debian.org
 500 http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie/contrib amd64 Packages
     release v=8.2,o=Debian,a=stable,n=jessie,l=Debian,c=contrib
     origin httpredir.debian.org
 500 http://httpredir.debian.org/debian/ jessie/main amd64 Packages
     release v=8.2,o=Debian,a=stable,n=jessie,l=Debian,c=main
     origin httpredir.debian.org
Pinned packages:
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Re: Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby fireExit » 2015-10-09 00:28

at the moment the sources.list is correctly following debian stable but the symptoms you describe in the original post led us to believe that at some point you had other repos there (stretch? sid?) and that you installed some (several?) packages from there.

it's the only reasonable explanation for those unmet dep.
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Re: Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby IG-89 » 2015-10-09 00:37

Yes at one point I was on stable, then moved my sources.list to testing, and have since moved back down to stable. I was under the impression that this was something that could be done without wrecking the system, and I haven't modified my sources.list for several months now without incident. Do you believe that I need to make an adjustment to it?
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Re: Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby fireExit » 2015-10-09 01:00

no, i don't see an easy fix for that mess.

you have, basically, 2 options:
1. move the system to stretch and, if the system survives until then, you are in the new-stable after the deep-freeze.
2. reinstall.
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Re: Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby dasein » 2015-10-09 01:03

IG-89 wrote:I was under the impression that this was something that could be done without wrecking the system...

You thought the Debian Wiki was lying in (at least) two different places?

You didn't notice the dozens of threads on here (along with the handy meta-thread) describing the potential breakage of mixing repos?

Call me cynical, but it seems much more likely that you're following the advice of FDN's resident sociopath, who encourages folks to mix repos, and to lie when reporting a problem. (Hint: it doesn't work, and people end up unwilling to help you with legitimate problems.)
Last edited by dasein on 2015-10-09 01:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby GarryRicketson » 2015-10-09 01:09

I was under the impression that this was something that could be done without wrecking the system


Where ever you got that impression from, is wrong.




Also in various signatures,...
https://wiki.debian.org/DontBreakDebian/
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Re: Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby IG-89 » 2015-10-09 01:14

Thank you for the informative reply, fireExit. I will carefully consider my options and make an informed decision. Am I to understand that if I change my sources.list to point to stretch then this would correct some of the issues I am having, or is that not something that you can confidently predict? Also I am curious about what you mean by "if the system survives," do you mean that you believe the system is so unstable at this point that it may spontaneously fail?

And dasein, I don't know who or what FDN is and I'm not really sure what I've done to draw your ire, but I genuinely apologize. I am certainly *not* an expert with linux and have been using it as my primary os for considerably less than a year now. There is no way that I would have done this to my system if I had understood that it was problematic, and the source of information that I used as the basis for my decision to change my sources.list from stable -> testing -> stable must have been very much mistaken. It was not this forum.
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Re: Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby dasein » 2015-10-09 01:15

GarryRicketson wrote:Also in various signatures,...
https://wiki.debian.org/DontBreakDebian/

Another way of saying: linked to over 6,000 times here at FDN.
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Re: Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby dasein » 2015-10-09 01:20

IG-89 wrote:... do you mean that you believe the system is so unstable at this point that it may spontaneously fail?

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, the failure is neither hypothetical nor future. It's already happened.

(And no, you should not try to "fix" it by switching to Testing. Reinstall Stable and stay there.)

IG-89 wrote:And dasein, I don't know who or what FDN is...

These forums.

IG-89 wrote:[i] have been using it as my primary os for considerably less than a year now.

That doesn't equate to "can't read the wiki."
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Re: Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby IG-89 » 2015-10-09 01:25

Well thank you all for the information, and I hope that no one treats you rudely if you ever happen to make a mistake in the future.
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Re: Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby fireExit » 2015-10-09 01:29

IG-89 wrote:Thank you for the informative reply, fireExit. I will carefully consider my options and make an informed decision. Am I to understand that if I change my sources.list to point to stretch then this would correct some of the issues I am having, or is that not something that you can confidently predict? Also I am curious about what you mean by "if the system survives," do you mean that you believe the system is so unstable at this point that it may spontaneously fail?

the transition to stretch (testing) requires apt/dpkg knowledge and all the usual warnings of using a testing release apply (moreso when you say that you are not an expert)

probably the best option is to backup all the personal data that you have in the system and reinstall jessie.
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Re: Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby GarryRicketson » 2015-10-09 01:54

Yes at one point I was on stable, then moved my sources.list to testing, and have since moved back down to stable

I was under the impression that this was something that could be done without wrecking the system, and I haven't modified my sources.list for several months now without incident.

I am certainly *not* an expert with linux and have been using it as my primary os for considerably less than a year now. There is no way that I would have done this to my system if I had understood that it was problematic, and the source of information that I used as the basis for my decision to change my sources.list from stable -> testing -> stable must have been very much mistaken.

@IG-89 , Don't feel bad, ... when I first started using Debian the stable version was Squeeze,
it was fine, and very stable for some time,
I hadn't modified my sources.list for several month
, similar to you, I was new to debian, and I did not know about the "sources.list", Mine pointed to "stable", which turned out to be "wheezy", I had not accepted or done any upgrades or updates , for close to a year, so as soon as I updated/upgraded, I ended up crashing my system, there were also some packages I had gotten off of the "ubuntu" sources, since I had been unable to find them on the "squeeze' repository.
So any way, it is to long of a story, to give all the details, but when I came here, wondering how I could fix my broken system, the first thing that was asked, was "Why are you using squeeze?""
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=120073#p566970
that was almost a year ago,.. and also they asked to see my sources.list file,...

Any way, if I had done a little more research, before I installed "squeeze", (my first time using Debian) ,
I might have avoided the trouble.
The easiest solution, was to install "wheezy", the current stable version at that time. I also still have "squeeze" and installed it on a "dedicated" partition, ..but that is another topic, I also have " Jessie" the current "stable" version, on a "dedicated partition, ..all 3 versions run very well and stable, now that I understand the importance of using the correct sources.
The "Stretch", and "testing" versions, are still NOT stable, and there is all sorts of problems with these, and many of the "packages" are also being "tested", or are unstable as well. For those that enjoy experimenting, and have the knowledge , experience, etc,..that is fine to use them, and try to work out the "bugs" etc. But if a reliable stable system is what you want and need, you should stick with "Jessie", or even better use "Wheezy",..
And dasein, I don't know who or what FDN is and I'm not really sure what I've done to draw your ire,

"forums.debian.net", Dasein is trying to help , as well , just like all of us,..and does give some valuable advice.
The Debian wiki is packed full of information, and if it is read carefully, before deciding which version of debian is best for your needs, then one can make a good choice and install a stable , reliable system and probably never have any problems later on down the road.
The advice to read the wiki, is more valuable then what many people realize.
It is not "ire", actually , I need to look that up , I am not sure what that means,..but don't take it personal.
So any way , welcome to the forum,..
The easiest way to fix your system may very well be to re-install a stable version,..but there are some very skilled "techs" here, it just may take a lot more time,to sort it all out , and repair it.
If you need help with accessing your files,so you can get all the important data saved , before you do a "fresh install", we can help you with that as well, just let us know what you decide to do.
Sorry to hear this happened, ..you are not the only one this has happened too, but now you probably have learned a valuable lesson.
good luck
----edited a little, poor grammar, spelling, a few details
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Re: Broken tasksel, packages, and an overall broken system

Postby IG-89 » 2015-10-09 02:31

Thank you Garry, that's a very positive and helpful perspective for me, and I greatly appreciate the information you provided. I will certainly make use of the knowledge contained within the wiki and also within the users here if I am unable to find a solution through research, since it looks like I do have a lot of work cut out for me to get back to a productive, stable system (I use this machine for school work). I have learned several things tonight, perhaps most importantly about the existence of the "Don't Break Debain" wiki page, but obviously also about this whole issue of tracking a specific release. I don't mean to come off as whiny or irascible, and I apologize if I did to anyone, (probably especially applicable to dasein - my apologies, dasein). This has been a frustrating night for me and I have been forced to confront the reality that I have gone about learning how to use the system in a terribly irresponsible way, something I'm certainly paying the price for now.

But thank you again, I really do appreciate what you wrote and I look forward to getting to know you all better over time.
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