[SOLVED] Strange issue with Synaptic

If none of the more specific forums is the right place to ask
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
ticojohn
Posts: 1012
Joined: 2009-08-29 18:10
Location: /home/heart
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 6 times

[SOLVED] Strange issue with Synaptic

#1 Post by ticojohn »

Yesterday I was helping a newbie friend with installation of a package using the Synaptic Package Manager. He has a Thinkpad T60 running Debian 10 (32 bit), which I helped him to install. Using the XFCE desktop and lightdm. We had previously used Synaptic to install a package and everything worked fine. However, this time when we opened Synaptic and did a search to find the package to be installed, wget, nothing showed up in the search results. We then tried searching for multiple other packages and again nothing showed up in the search results. On opening Synaptic all available packages showed up as is normal. Is there some setting that might be causing the search results to not show up or might there be a problem with the Synaptic package installation on his machine? Since Synaptic had previously worked correctly I am guessing that there may be some setting that was changed, but for the life of me I can't find anything that might be applicable. And my friend and I don't live close to each other so I don't have easy access to his machine, and he is quite computer illiterate so getting him to do any troubleshooting is difficult at best. So, I'm just looking for some suggestions as to where to look the next time he and I get together. Thanks for any suggestions.

By the way, we were able to install the desired package using apt install so it was obviously in the repository and should have shown up in the search results. I am puzzled. :?
Last edited by ticojohn on 2021-07-22 14:19, edited 1 time in total.
I'm not irrational, I'm just quantum probabilistic.

arochester
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 2007
Joined: 2010-12-07 19:55
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#2 Post by arochester »

Aside: The ThinkPad T60 has a dual-core processor. Is there some reason for using 32 bit and not 64 bit?

User avatar
ticojohn
Posts: 1012
Joined: 2009-08-29 18:10
Location: /home/heart
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 6 times

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#3 Post by ticojohn »

arochester wrote: 2021-07-14 21:35 Aside: The ThinkPad T60 has a dual-core processor. Is there some reason for using 32 bit and not 64 bit?
Just called my friend to verify, and we installed i386 but the kernel is i686-pae. Not sure why exactly, maybe I wasn't sure if that processor would support amd64, so I went the safe route (as recommended in the Debian installation guide). However, I doubt that not being amd64 has anything to do with the Synaptic problem. Maybe, but since it worked at one time I am thinking that there might be some setting that my friend inadvertently changed. Just the same, thanks for your response.

Note: 64 bit support really depends on which processor is installed. If it has a T7200 processor then it supports 64 bit. If it has a T2300 processor, which I think it does, then it does not support 64 bit. Perhaps that is why we installed a 32 bit system. I will investigate the next time I get together with my friend.
I'm not irrational, I'm just quantum probabilistic.

Bulkley
Posts: 6143
Joined: 2006-02-11 18:35

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#4 Post by Bulkley »

Apologies if this is too basic but with a GUI such as Synaptic it is easy to forget to do an apt update. I think on Synaptic it is called "refresh."

With Debian 10, I abandoned Synaptic and now do my package browsing with packagesearch and upgrades with

Code: Select all

# apt update && apt upgrade
.

User avatar
ticojohn
Posts: 1012
Joined: 2009-08-29 18:10
Location: /home/heart
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 6 times

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#5 Post by ticojohn »

Bulkley wrote: 2021-07-15 00:21 Apologies if this is too basic but with a GUI such as Synaptic it is easy to forget to do an apt update. I think on Synaptic it is called "refresh."

With Debian 10, I abandoned Synaptic and now do my package browsing with packagesearch and upgrades with

Code: Select all

# apt update && apt upgrade
.
Thanks for that response. I didn't do an update while my friend was here with the computer, but he had recently done and update and upgrade. So I wouldn't think that that would be the issue, especially since when we open Synaptic all the packages are listed. It's just when we did search that nothing was listed. And he did the update and upgrade in a terminal, as per my instructions, not via Synaptic. Also, we were able to install the desired packages using apt install so the package manager knew those packages existed. Very strange.
I'm not irrational, I'm just quantum probabilistic.

User avatar
NFT5
Posts: 438
Joined: 2014-10-10 11:38
Location: Canberra, Australia
Has thanked: 2 times

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#6 Post by NFT5 »

ticojohn wrote: 2021-07-15 02:41 Very strange.
Yes. Has happened to me twice now. Both times trying to install GTK applications on a KDE/Plasma desktop system.

At first I thought it was Synaptic being clever and not showing packages that didn't match the desktop installed. The packages showed up in the Plasma package manager and installed fine, so I didn't bother investigating further, figuring it may have just been a quirk of my machine. :?

jakoline1
Posts: 41
Joined: 2021-07-06 00:49
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#7 Post by jakoline1 »

We're all been though similar situations when trying to share Gnu/Linux with family and friends, here is what I think:

Hard-to-diagnose problems or quarks in a fresh Gnu/Linux installation is almost always caused by one of the following reasons:

1- The *.iso file you used to install Debian on your friend's machine was corrupted, or got corrupted during burning and booting.

2- The medium you used (USB-DVD-CD) is damaged, it's faulty and fails from time to time but not all the times.

3- Your friend's hard drive has bad sectors that prevented Debian from being correctly installed.

What to do?

1- Check md5sum of the *.iso file, or just re-download.

2- Use a different USB thumb, and don't use a DVD because most DVDs in computer shops are cheap garbage.

3- Burn using Etcher (https://www.balena.io/etcher/), Etcher is a decent burning tool the burns and verifies. Take notice that after burning with Etcher you'll need GParted (sudo apt-get install gparted) to format your USB thumb and be able to use it ordinarily again.

4- Or use Rufus (https://rufus.ie), but I really recommend Etcher though.

jakoline1
Posts: 41
Joined: 2021-07-06 00:49
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#8 Post by jakoline1 »

Addition: I once had that same Synaptic problem on Ubuntu 10.10 along with other issues such as the system switching keyboard layouts while I'm typing and other weird things, turned out to be a corrupted .iso file. while in some other cases it was just Synaptic being buggy.

Try this:

Install apt-xapian-indexi

Code: Select all

sudo apt install apt-xapian-index
Then rebuild search index

Code: Select all

sudo update-apt-xapian-index -vf
Now you should see a new search box in Synaptic.

Image

Does the search work now?

User avatar
wizard10000
Posts: 197
Joined: 2019-04-16 23:15
Location: southeastern us
Has thanked: 19 times
Been thanked: 6 times

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#9 Post by wizard10000 »

jakoline1 wrote: 2021-07-15 11:54

Code: Select all

sudo apt install apt-xapian-index
Then rebuild search index

Code: Select all

sudo update-apt-xapian-index -vf
Now you should see a new search box in Synaptic.
This. This right here :D
we see things not as they are, but as we are.
-- anais nin

User avatar
ticojohn
Posts: 1012
Joined: 2009-08-29 18:10
Location: /home/heart
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 6 times

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#10 Post by ticojohn »

I appreciate the suggestions from @Wizard10000 and @jakoline1. As I said earlier, my friend does not live close to me so access to his machine is pretty limited. And getting him to do anything more complicated than turning on the computer is pretty much a no-go. It's not that bad, but almost. :lol:

I am pretty certain that when I downloaded and installed the .iso to a USB stick that I verified the md5sum. MAYBE not, but it is something I always do when installing on MY computer. It's been over a year since I did the installation but everything had worked fine up until the other day and I know that Synaptic worked correctly about a month ago because my friend wanted to know how to install a package, so I led in through the procedure (including use the search function in Synaptic). Maybe the installed Synaptic package has gotten corrupted. Or maybe he did something that caused the problem


Anyway, the next time we get together I will do some further investigation. The main thrust of my post was to see if there were any Synaptic settings that might have been changed that could be causing the problem. Thanks for all the responses and suggestions.
I'm not irrational, I'm just quantum probabilistic.

User avatar
NFT5
Posts: 438
Joined: 2014-10-10 11:38
Location: Canberra, Australia
Has thanked: 2 times

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#11 Post by NFT5 »

jakoline1 wrote: 2021-07-15 11:54 Then rebuild search index

Code: Select all

sudo update-apt-xapian-index -vf

Now you should see a new search box in Synaptic.
after you turn computer off, then on and log in and out a few times. :lol:

But.....brilliant! I didn't realise you could rebuild the index. Fixed it. :D

User avatar
ticojohn
Posts: 1012
Joined: 2009-08-29 18:10
Location: /home/heart
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 6 times

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#12 Post by ticojohn »

NFT5 wrote: 2021-07-15 14:01 after you turn computer off, then on and log in and out a few times. :lol:

But.....brilliant! I didn't realise you could rebuild the index. Fixed it. :D
Cool. Hopefully I can get my friend to bring his laptop over and we can give that a go. Unfortunately he is not particularly inclined to actually learn anything about the OS. Just wants to use it. :roll: I may try that apt-xapian-index on one of my backup installations, just to see how it goes. Thanks for all the positive feedback.
I'm not irrational, I'm just quantum probabilistic.

User avatar
ticojohn
Posts: 1012
Joined: 2009-08-29 18:10
Location: /home/heart
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 6 times

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#13 Post by ticojohn »

NFT5 wrote: 2021-07-15 14:01
jakoline1 wrote: 2021-07-15 11:54 Then rebuild search index

Code: Select all

sudo update-apt-xapian-index -vf

Now you should see a new search box in Synaptic.
after you turn computer off, then on and log in and out a few times. :lol:

But.....brilliant! I didn't realise you could rebuild the index. Fixed it. :D
Interesting! I just installed apt-xapian-index and did the update, as per suggestion of @jakoline1. There was no need to reboot the computer or to log out. Synaptic showed the new filter immediately, AND IT WORKED. Of course that is on MY computer, not my friends. But hopefully we can make it happen on his computer as well. Thanks so much for the suggestions.
I'm not irrational, I'm just quantum probabilistic.

User avatar
ticojohn
Posts: 1012
Joined: 2009-08-29 18:10
Location: /home/heart
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 6 times

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#14 Post by ticojohn »

Okay, here is some weirdness. I installed apt-xapian-index and did the update, per instructions, on my backup system and all went perfectly. However, when i did the same on main system I got an error message when doing the update to the index

Code: Select all

root@debian:~# apt update-apt-xapian-index -vf
apt 2.2.4 (amd64)
E: Command line option 'f' [from -vf] is not understood in combination with the other options.
How strange! I removed the -f option and the index updated. And Synaptic shows the new filter as it should. What the heck? :?
I'm not irrational, I'm just quantum probabilistic.

User avatar
ticojohn
Posts: 1012
Joined: 2009-08-29 18:10
Location: /home/heart
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 6 times

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#15 Post by ticojohn »

OOPS!!!! I see my error. Wrong command. Why did I put apt in the command? Brain Cloud!
I'm not irrational, I'm just quantum probabilistic.

User avatar
ticojohn
Posts: 1012
Joined: 2009-08-29 18:10
Location: /home/heart
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 6 times

Re: Strange issue with Synaptic

#16 Post by ticojohn »

Just wanted to update this post. I finally got my friend to do some things to try and fix the issue with the Search function in Synaptic Package Manager.

I first had him just click on the Reload Icon in Synaptic as suggested by @Bulkley. No help.
Then I had him reinstall the synaptic package. Again, no help.
Lastly, I had him install apt-xapian-index and run update-apt-xapian-index as suggested by @jakoline1. Viola!

I still have no idea why the Synaptic search function stopped working but at least he now has search capability using the apt-xapian-index addon. Will mark this as SOLVED. Thanks for all the suggestions.

By the way, @arochester had asked why we installed 32bit and not 64bit on my friends Lenovo T60. Some T60's have 64bit cpu's and some have 32bit cpu's. My friends laptop has the Intel T2400 CPU which does not support 64bit instructions.
I'm not irrational, I'm just quantum probabilistic.

Post Reply