[Pkg-zsh-devel] Bug#770226: Bug#770226: zsh-common: installation fails for amd arch

Axel Beckert abe at debian.org
Wed Nov 19 23:33:46 UTC 2014

Hi Scott,

thanks for the bug report.

Scott Walsh wrote:
> aptitude install zsh, which lead to packages being in the 'half'
> installed state. Attempting to purge was unsucessful. Had to resort to
> dpkg --remove --force-remove-reinstreq zsh zsh-common to resolve the
> issue.

That's strange, because I would expect that piuparts would find such
issues, but definitely didn't, neither at
https://piuparts.debian.org/sid/source/z/zsh.html nor at

>   Preparing to unpack .../zsh-common_5.0.7-4_all.deb ...
>   dpkg-maintscript-helper: error: original symlink target is not an
>   absolute path
>   dpkg: error processing archive
>   /var/cache/apt/archives/zsh-common_5.0.7-4_all.deb (--unpack):

This is clearly something which was introduced by one of the fixes in
5.0.7-4 as we didn't use dpkg-maintscript-helper before.

I tried to reproduce this issue in a freshly bootstrapped jessie
chroot, but couldn't (which doesn't surprise me much as piuparts
couldn't either).

So we need to see what so special in your setup.

One thing which is a good candidate for such a failure is a too old
dpkg version. Both, zsh and zsh-common have a "Pre-Depends: dpkg (>=
1.17.5)" because of this, but maybe that Pre-Depends is not strict
enough (despite it has been set by debhelper for using
dpkg-maintscript-helper with symlink_to_dir. But reading dpkg's
changelog.Debian.gz, I find the following entry for 1.17.14:

  * Add support for relative symlinks to dpkg-maintscript-helper
    symlink_to_dir command. [...]

So I suspect this happened with a dpkg version < 1.17.14 and we likely
need to bump that Pre-Depends to >= 1.17.14.

Cc'ing debhelper-devel to make them aware of this potential issue.

debhelper maintainers: Shall I clone or reassign this bug report to
debhelper for bumping ${misc:Pre-Depends} in such cases?

To be sure that my assumption is correct: Scott, can you tell me the
dpkg version which was running at that time. If the dpkg has changed
since then or was upgraded in the same run, please look in
/var/log/aptitude or /var/log/dpkg.log which was installed when that
error happened. (Verifying that dpkg was either uptodate in Jessie or
below version 1.17.14 at the time when this happened should suffice.)

		Regards, Axel
 ,''`.  |  Axel Beckert <abe at debian.org>, http://people.debian.org/~abe/
: :' :  |  Debian Developer, ftp.ch.debian.org Admin
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