Fixing Problems with APT

APT (Advanced Packaging Tool) is the package management system for Debian GNU/Linux and Debian-based operating systems such as Ubuntu. Some Red Hat, CentOS and SUSE Linux users may also prefer to use APT, although it is not the default. As we have previously discussed, the main command for APT is “apt-get” followed by any number of options and flags.

When APT is working well on your dedicated server, it will automatically search for dependencies for the package you want to install, download the package, install it, and configure it for immediate use. When things go wrong, however, APT may stop at any one of those steps.

Sometimes, the problem may be that apt-get had unfinished tasks or dependency issues that need to be fixed before proceeding to the installation you want. In such cases, the quick and easy solution is to type:

apt-get -f install

This will normally finish anything that needs finishing.

For the actual installation of binary packages, apt-get relies on dpkg to extract the .deb archives and install the files in their appropriate locations. If something goes wrong during this process, when dpkg is installing and configuring software, you may need to complete the process manually with the following command:

dpkg --configure -a

If neither of these solutions works to solve whatever problem you are having, the error may be related to a third-party repository or a problem with your Linux installation. The best way to troubleshoot errors such as these is to make a note of the exact error message and then consult documentation, forums, or technical support (available with most commercial distributions). With any luck, you will have the issue resolved quickly and have your dedicated server optimized and ready for service.