“Segmentation Faulty Tree”

I am trying out Debian GNU/Linux (unstable) on my desktop for a while now, and I am not yet used to apt as a packagemanager. I’m sure it’s darn powerful (why else whould Debian run on it, as one of the oldest and most revered distro’s), but it feels like it hides the most simple tasks into different things, like listing installed packages is done with dpkg, finding package names with apt-cache, and installing/removing with apt-get. Hmmm, not really sure why it isn’t just all wrapped in one utility (besides of course the more graphical stuff like aptitude or synaptic).

Anyway, I did a apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade today, which basically downloads the latest package information from your mirrors and upgrades everything, and something weird happened. At least, the upgrade process went without any trouble (since I only just recently did it before and not too much had to be updated), Apt complained about a “segmentation faulty tree”. That’s a new one. Not just corrupted, or something like that, no “segmentation faulty”.

A few clicks around the net taught me that deleting /var/cache/apt/*.bin would (temporarily) fix the problem. But not indefinitely.

Later, I found a post which was a bit more explanatory. Apparently, the “Reading dependency tree” message in apt is printed with a CR character, so the percentage is updated at the same place (basic console programming), so when an actual segmentation fault happens, the message is printed right over it, causing it to state “Segmentation faulty tree”.

Ah, at least it is an error message I know now. 😀 The problem is not yet fixed, but the coincidence is funny enough to share. Geek humor. Hah!

Read the original post & comments at drm.tweakblogs.net.

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