Install error "package1 : Depends: package2 but it is not going to be installed"

Steffen Grunewald steffen.grunewald at
Wed Jun 23 12:52:42 CEST 2021

Hello everyone,

I've been using that nfsroot for a few years now, to install Stretch on
my cluster nodes. (This means this isn't the latest and greatest FAI
version at work, but it just used to work, and I don't want to take
the risk of starting from scratch a few weeks before Stretch gets 
decommissioned here.)

Due to a system disk failure, I had to reinstall one of the headnodes,
and I'm now running into issues.

The first indication was that the node didn't boot from (ZFS mirrored)
disk, the second was some "failed to get canonical path" for the root
Digging deeper, there was an error of the type
"package1 : Depends: package2 but it is not going to be installed"
that caused the installation to be interrupted (code 472), without
ZFS packages installed at all.
Reinstalling without "reboot" at the end of the $flags, I found that
inside the /target chroot, I indeed could not install package1, but
was able to install package2 - and after that, also package1.
(Is there a way to find out what caused the dependency to fail?
I suspect that those two packages - actually metapackages - have grown
too much to be handled by apt at all.)

It seems that there are two ways out:

(a) do not install package1 at all, just package2 - and fill in after
 rebooting (ouch, that wouldn't be FA anymore)
(b) change package installation order to have package2 (which is an
 implicit dependency right now) installed before even thinking about
 installing package1
(c) move installation of the whole bunch, or at least part of it, into
 a hook

While (a) basically depends on my ability to remember that "something
is still to be done", (b) would require a feature that doesn't seem to
be in FAI, and (c) will become an ugly kludge (if I can ever make it

Any suggestions how to proceed?


Steffen Grunewald, Cluster Administrator
Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute)
Am Mühlenberg 1 * D-14476 Potsdam-Golm * Germany
Fon: +49-331-567 7274
Mail: steffen.grunewald(at)

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