Bug#994836: exim: dpkg fatal error due to Debian-exim in statoverride

Andreas Metzler ametzler at bebt.de
Tue Oct 19 17:56:15 BST 2021

On 2021-09-21 Wookey <wookey at debian.org> wrote:
> Package: exim
> Severity: important

> whilst trying to install build-deps for therion in an unstable chroot
> i.e
> apt source therion (6.0.2ds1-3 is downloaded)
> cd therion-6.0.2ds1
> sudo apt --no-install-recommends build-dep .

> I got (after downloading 887MB of stuff, (304MB, 270 packages)):

> debconf: delaying package configuration, since apt-utils is not installed
> dpkg: unrecoverable fatal error, aborting:
>  unknown system group 'Debian-exim' in statoverride file; the system group got removed
> before the override, which is most probably a packaging bug, to recover you
> can remove the override manually with dpkg-statoverride
> E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (2)
> E: Failed to process build dependencies

> That's quite bad. Debian-exim is indeed mentionned in the override file.
> $ cat /var/lib/statoverride:
> root crontab 2755 /usr/bin/crontab
> root Debian-exim 640 /etc/exim4/passwd.client
> root messagebus 4754 /usr/lib/dbus-1.0/dbus-daemon-launch-helper
> Turns out that the install list doesn't matter. any use of dpkg will hit this statoverride issue.

> /etc/exim4/passwd.client does exist but is owned by an unknown group.
> $ll /etc/exim4/passwd.client
> -rw-r----- 1 root 132 204 Nov  4  2020 /etc/exim4/passwd.client
> So it does indeed look like the Debian-exim group was removed, but at least one file owned by it, and the statoverride remain.

> Is that expected? - I presume not.

Hello Wookey,

no, it is not expected. Both -base and -config will add a Debian-exim
system user with its own private group in postinst if it does not exist.
But none of the exim packages ever remove the user.

So it looks like random system breakage to me. - Isn't user removal
logged usually?

cu Andreas
`What a good friend you are to him, Dr. Maturin. His other friends are
so grateful to you.'
`I sew his ears on from time to time, sure'

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