OT: dpkg hangs unpacking

Brian Kroth bpkroth at gmail.com
Fri Feb 10 14:12:55 CET 2012

Carsten Aulbert <Carsten.Aulbert at aei.mpg.de> 2012-02-10 09:26:
> Hi
> On Friday 10 February 2012 09:15:05 Natxo Asenjo wrote:
>> This has been working great for over 3 years now. But since I have
>> started bootstrapping squeeze hosts, the system hangs after the first
>> reboot unpacking a specific package, snmpd.
> Any error messages? Or does it just hang? Maybe it's waiting for input, i.e.
> it spawned some interactive part which is now waiting. If you can log into the
> box you might see subprocesses of dpkg.

I've seen that a number of times while trying to install things via 
cfengine.  Usually you'll see something like whiptail or dialog in the 
process table.  There's a number of "magic" flags and environment 
variables you can try and set in order to tell aptitude to *really* be 
silent, but they don't always seem to work.  For instance, we have 
something like this in our cfengine rules:

	"/usr/bin/yes | DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive DEBIAN_PRIORITY=critical DEBCONF_NONINTERACTIVE_SEEN=true /usr/bin/apt-get -y --force-yes install foo"

There's a way to do this with aptitude (preferred), but I don't have an 
example handy at the moment (I bet there's one in your FAI logs :).

You can also use the fai debconf rules to "answer" certain questions 
ahead of time.  We used to do that for sun-java for example.

> May I ask why this package is unpacked/installed AFTER the reboot? Wouldn't it
> be better if this was done by FAI?

To this I'll say that sometimes things change after install and it's 
easier to just add something or patch it afterwards via cfengine.

I've also run across pkgsync as a potential way to solve this in the 
past but haven't had a chance to test it.  If anyone has any comments on 
it I'd be interested to hear them.

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