I have been struggling with disk errors for the past few days in Ubuntu, on the 560e that I brought home exactly a week ago. This is unusual for me, unusual for the drive and (generally speaking, in my experience) unusual for Ubuntu … but opinions will vary on that last point, of course.
These were particularly disappointing though, because they damaged some of dpkg’s configuration files. Attempting to install anything spat out an error like this one. …
E: Internal Error, Could not perform immediate configuration (1) on libattr1
Google told me the package could be different between cases, but the source of the error was usually the same — some part of dpkg’s support files had been damaged. In my case it was probably /var/lib/dpkg/status or one of its brethren. Replacing it with status-old was one option, but that didn’t seem to fix anything.
What did work was forcing the obstinate packages to install in spite of dependency issues, and then recovering the faulted packages with apt-get. In other words:
dpkg -i --force-depends libattr1_1%3a2.4.43-3_i386.deb
apt-get -f -y install
A bit brutish, but it got the job done. Eventually I was able to install enough packages and cover enough dependencies to continue installing … whatever it was I was installing. I had forgotten by this point.
I’m hypothesizing here, but I suspect that the errors come about in part because of the hardware arrangement of the 560e. No OS I have put on it yet has been able to shut it down completely. The power button is a sliding switch that presses against a spring, which either activates or kills the machine. My only guess is that for some reason, when the shutdown message appears, the drive still hasn’t properly synced, which is triggering errors. Of course I’m not an expert, so it’s only a guess.
One other small point of editorializing — aptitude has fallen in my favor, in the year or so since I drifted away from it. I used to be rather enamored with the Debian-slash-Ubuntu packaging system and how well it handles the tens of thousands of dependencies and interrelationships so well. But coming back to it after a year or so and having spent most of that time with tools like pacman and yaourt, ports and prt-get, or even tazpkg, aptitude is a sluggish toad. I will curb my sharpest criticism and just say it’s not nearly as wieldy and fast as the others I mentioned, and venerable as it is, it needs a tune-up.
And that’s enough for now.
P.S.: Ordinarily you should put
sudo in front of those commands. Unless you’re like me, and you assign a root password and su to do system maintenance. Ooh, I’m going to get in trouble for that one. …