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I recently migrated from using Fedora to Debian. And I'm having some issues with the package manager.

I used to be able to search for packages via yum using :

yum search <part_of_package_name_or_description>

Also while installing simple software such as VLC media player.

I get the following when I try to run: sudo apt-get install vlc

Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
or been moved out of Incoming.
The following information may help to resolve the situation:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
 vlc : Depends: fonts-freefont-ttf but it is not installable
       Depends: vlc-nox (= 1:2.0.3-dmo1) but it is not going to be installed
       Depends: libavcodec54 (>= 7:0.11.1) but it is not going to be installed
       Depends: libavutil51 (>= 7:0.11.1) but it is not going to be installed
       Depends: libqtcore4 (>= 4:4.8.0) but it is not going to be installed
       Depends: libqtgui4 (>= 4:4.7.0~beta1) but it is not going to be installed
       Depends: libstdc++6 (>= 4.6) but 4.4.5-8 is to be installed
       Depends: libtar0 but it is not installable
       Depends: libva-x11-1 (> 1.0.15~) but it is not going to be installed
       Depends: libva1 (> 1.0.15~) but it is not going to be installed
       Depends: libxcb-keysyms1 (>= 0.3.9) but it is not going to be installed
       Recommends: vlc-plugin-notify (= 1:2.0.3-dmo1) but it is not going to be installed
       Recommends: vlc-plugin-pulse (= 1:2.0.3-dmo1) but it is not going to be installed
E: Broken packages

Can someone tell me what I should do to search for packages via command line like yum search?

And do I really have to install the dependencies manully in debian? Or am I missing something here? (Incorrect/incompatible repos perhaps?)

I know I sound like a n00b but I don't see any aparent reason why apt-get isn't installing the dependencies on it's own.


/etc/apt/sources.list

deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze contrib non-free main
deb-src http://http.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main

deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main
deb-src http://http.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze/updates main

# squeeze-updates, previously known as 'volatile'
deb http://mirror.cse.iitk.ac.in/debian/ squeeze-updates main
deb-src http://mirror.cse.iitk.ac.in/debian/ squeeze-updates main
deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org squeeze main non-free
deb http://packages.dotdeb.org squeeze all
deb-src http://packages.dotdeb.org squeeze all
deb ftp://ftp.deb-multimedia.org squeeze main non-free
deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org wheezy main non-free
deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org sid main non-free
deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org squeeze main non-free
# deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org squeeze-backports main
# deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org experimental main


Basic Install requirements right now are

  • Firefox (not the IceWeasel derivative)
  • VLC
  • Gnome3 Desktop environment.
  • Improving visuals/graphic display quality. (Gnome 3 should help with that too right?)

I migrated from Fedora to Debian simply because Fedora's repositories were causing trouble (outdated software etc.) But if Debian is going to be this challenging throughtout I might as well give up. :(

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2  
As stock Fedora has way newer packages than Debian. –  Shutupsquare Aug 6 '12 at 15:45
    
@shutupsquare is totally right, debian stands more for stability than for having bleeding edge software. Any way, could you please add the contents of your /etc/apt/sources.list ? Before installing anything you'd do "apt-get update", then for searching "apt-cache search <pattern>" and you already know how to install packages. –  tripledes Aug 6 '12 at 15:47
    
@shutupsquare Agreed but I was totally appaled to find that I couldn't use ifconfig to check my ip. :O –  ffledgling Aug 6 '12 at 15:55
    
I think its in /usr/sbin so only root gets it in the path, I wouldn't <deflect flame> personally </deflect flame> class Debian as a everyday put on your laptop os, I would consider more for servers and maybe enterprise desktops, where less change is a good thing. –  Shutupsquare Aug 6 '12 at 16:02
    
PS I don't know enough about apt.sources but you've got repos for 3 different versions of Debian in there, Sid Squeeze and Wheezy, You maybe better off with Ubuntu or Mint they are friendlier and have VLC, Firefox, Gnome 3. available with no sources editing. –  Shutupsquare Aug 6 '12 at 16:12
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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

About your requirements, Iceweasel is the supported Firefox derivative (fork), I'm currently running debian as my desktop OS at work and use iceweasel every day, no problem. Gnome3, I think it'll be available on the next stable release, BTW what release are you running? Squeeze? If so I think (IIRC) Wheezy will have it. And finally, about graphics performance/quality, that depends a lot on your graphics card and its driver, but if you think of it like having transparencies, windows closing with fancy effects and so on, you'll need a moderm desktop or compiz (work with gnome2) which I think its available on stable (wheeze).

I have modified a bit your sources.list for wheeze, do you mind to test it and report back?

deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze contrib non-free main
deb-src http://http.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main

deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main non-free contrib
deb-src http://http.us.debian.org/debian/ squeeze/updates main

# squeeze-updates, previously known as 'volatile'
deb http://mirror.cse.iitk.ac.in/debian/ squeeze-updates main non-free contrib
deb-src http://mirror.cse.iitk.ac.in/debian/ squeeze-updates main non-free contrib

# 3rd party repositories
deb http://packages.dotdeb.org squeeze all
deb-src http://packages.dotdeb.org squeeze all
deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org squeeze main non-free

If you happen to be using wheezy or sid you'll have to change all squeeze ocurrences for the one you're using.

Please, backup your sources.list before replacing it, then test it as follows:

Refresh caches

# apt-get update

Search package

# apt-cache vlc

Install package

# apt-get install <package_name>

If find trouble, please report back with output for those three commands, or at least for the first and last.

Also, if you are already using Wheezy or sid, forget what I said about Gnome3 not being available, it should be there but wheezy is yet to be release and sid is always the development branch.

share|improve this answer
    
I'm running Squeeze right now. So are you sure the Wheezy repos will work? Also I was looking to install firefox itself. And to the third point the graphics are a little shabby, broken/pixeleated. –  ffledgling Aug 6 '12 at 17:33
    
As far as I know gnome3 should be ready for wheezy release, but I'd better do a fresh testing (wheezy) installation than upgrading the one you have already. About graphics, you might have a missing driver or even, support for your graphics card. –  tripledes Aug 6 '12 at 17:38
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One thing to keep in mind if you're used to Yum is that the list of available packages is not updated automatically, so you must run apt-get update whenever the package sources change, and periodically to keep it up-to-date.

apt-get does handle dependencies. (That's where Yellowdog and Red Hat got the idea.)

I don't know precisely what caused the error you saw, but there are two common causes for this error message:

  • You modified the list of sources but did not run apt-get update, or apt-get update ran partially but some index files could not be downloaded. Remedy: run apt-get update.
  • You're installing packages from a broken source. The unstable release (codename sid) always contains the latest version of packages, and if the dependencies aren't in yet, too bad. Remedy: use the testing release, which is generally behind unstable by a few weeks and is consistent with respect to dependencies. Or use the stable release which is a bit like Red Hat to testing's Fedora (at this time, squeeze is the stable release, and wheezy is testing).

With respect to your sources, I recommend starting with only Debian official sources, and then adding third-party repositories such as Dotdeb and Debian-multimedia only if you actually need them.

apt-get handles package installations. To query the database of available packages, use apt-cache: apt-cache search part_of_package_name_or_description.

You may prefer to use aptitude, which combines the functions of apt-get and apt-cache and has a text mode interactive interface as well.

Iceweasel is exactly Firefox except for the name and logo. Debian doesn't distribute Firefox under the Firefox brand because they don't have the permission. VLC and Gnome 3 are in the standard Debian distribution.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for the explanation, but I tried Iceweasel first and it doesn't seem to be able to handle some javascripts and CSS so well. Page number links on some websites were appearing over paragarph text and objects seemed to flicker(appear and disappear) (Note that these are websites I usually use without problems). I don't know what the exact issue was but after I downloaded the Firefox tarball from the offical site and used Firefox on the same sites, the issue disappeared. –  ffledgling Aug 7 '12 at 8:05
    
@Ayos That's not due to any Iceweasel/Firefox difference, but because Debian ships an older version. –  Gilles Aug 7 '12 at 8:50
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Looks like you really do have an impossible situation:

deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org wheezy main non-free
deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org sid main non-free
deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org squeeze main non-free
# deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org squeeze-backports main
# deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org experimental main

Debian (and its derivatives) really cannot stand to have packages mixed from different distribution versions. In this case, you've mixed packages from stable (squeeze), testing (wheezy) and unstable (always named sid).

The usual resolution for this problem is to fix your sources list so that all repositories correspond to the version of Debian you wish to run (e.g. squeeze) and then run apt-get dist-upgrade. This should get your system back into a sane enough state for you to complete installing whatever packages you were really after.

Oh, and come back to Fedora. We miss you. :)

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