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I'm trying to install packages to get a webcam stream running on my raspberry pi. All of a sudden, apt-get is totally busted -- every time I try to install, reinstall or purge something that might fix the problem, I get the following error:

dpkg: unrecoverable fatal error, aborting:
 files list for package 'gnome-themes-standard-data' is not a regular file
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (2)

Which is remarkably frustrating! I have no idea what this error is, what caused it, or how to fix it, but it's totally stopped me in my tracks. I've tried apt-get update which runs to completion, but I can't upgrade or purge the problem package. It breaks even using -f and aptitude instead of apt-get.

Here's me trying to install ffmpeg:

pi@raspberrypi:/var/backups$ sudo apt-get install ffmpeg
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  libav-tools libavdevice53 libavfilter2 libjack-jackd2-0 libopencv-core2.3 libopencv-imgproc2.3
Suggested packages:
  jackd2
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  ffmpeg libav-tools libavdevice53 libavfilter2 libjack-jackd2-0 libopencv-core2.3 libopencv-imgproc2.3
0 upgraded, 7 newly installed, 0 to remove and 150 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B/2,235 kB of archives.
After this operation, 5,970 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? Y
Selecting previously unselected package libjack-jackd2-0:armhf.
dpkg: unrecoverable fatal error, aborting:
 files list for package 'gnome-themes-standard-data' is not a regular file
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (2)
pi@raspberrypi:/var/backups$ sudo apt-get purge gnome-themes-standard-data
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  gnome-themes-standard* gnome-themes-standard-data*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 2 to remove and 150 not upgraded.
After this operation, 3,892 kB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? Y
dpkg: unrecoverable fatal error, aborting:
 files list for package 'gnome-themes-standard-data' is not a regular file
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (2)
pi@raspberrypi:/var/backups$ sudo apt-get update
Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy InRelease
Hit http://archive.raspberrypi.org wheezy InRelease
Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/main armhf Packages
Hit http://archive.raspberrypi.org wheezy/main armhf Packages
Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/contrib armhf Packages
Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/non-free armhf Packages
Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/rpi armhf Packages
Ign http://archive.raspberrypi.org wheezy/main Translation-en_GB
Ign http://archive.raspberrypi.org wheezy/main Translation-en
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/contrib Translation-en_GB
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/contrib Translation-en
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/main Translation-en_GB
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/main Translation-en
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/non-free Translation-en_GB
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/non-free Translation-en
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/rpi Translation-en_GB
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/rpi Translation-en
E: dpkg was interrupted, you must manually run 'sudo dpkg --configure -a' to correct the problem. 
pi@raspberrypi:/var/backups$ sudo dpkg --configure -a
pi@raspberrypi:/var/backups$ sudo apt-get update
Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy InRelease
Hit http://archive.raspberrypi.org wheezy InRelease
Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/main armhf Packages
Hit http://archive.raspberrypi.org wheezy/main armhf Packages
Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/contrib armhf Packages
Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/non-free armhf Packages
Hit http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/rpi armhf Packages
Ign http://archive.raspberrypi.org wheezy/main Translation-en_GB
Ign http://archive.raspberrypi.org wheezy/main Translation-en
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/contrib Translation-en_GB
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/contrib Translation-en
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/main Translation-en_GB
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/main Translation-en
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/non-free Translation-en_GB
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/non-free Translation-en
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/rpi Translation-en_GB
Ign http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org wheezy/rpi Translation-en
Reading package lists... Done
pi@raspberrypi:/var/backups$ sudo apt-get upgrade
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following packages will be upgraded:
  apt apt-utils binutils cups-bsd cups-client cups-common curl debian-reference-common debian-reference-en dmsetup
  dpkg dpkg-dev e2fslibs e2fsprogs gdb gdbserver gvfs gvfs-backends gvfs-common gvfs-daemons gvfs-fuse gvfs-libs
  idle idle-python3.2 idle3 ifupdown initramfs-tools initscripts iptables isc-dhcp-client isc-dhcp-common iso-codes
  krb5-locales libapt-inst1.5 libapt-pkg-dev libapt-pkg4.12 libarchive12 libavahi-client3 libavahi-common-data
  libavahi-common3 libavahi-glib1 libc-bin libc-dev-bin libc6 libc6-dev libcairo-gobject2 libcairo2 libcomerr2
  libcups2 libcupsimage2 libcurl3 libdbus-glib-1-2 libdevmapper-event1.02.1 libdevmapper1.02.1 libdpkg-perl
  libgail-3-0 libgcrypt11 libgl1-mesa-glx libglapi-mesa libglib2.0-0 libglib2.0-data libgnutls26 libgssapi-krb5-2
  libgstreamer-plugins-base0.10-0 libgstreamer0.10-0 libgtk-3-0 libgtk-3-bin libgtk-3-common libgudev-1.0-0 libicu48
  libjavascriptcoregtk-1.0-0 libjavascriptcoregtk-3.0-0 libjson0 libk5crypto3 libkrb5-3 libkrb5support0 liblapack3
  liblapack3gf libldap-2.4-2 liblvm2app2.2 libnewt0.52 libobrender27 libobt0 libpixman-1-0 libpoppler19 libprocps0
  libproxy0 libqt4-network libqt4-svg libqt4-xml libqtcore4 libqtdbus4 libqtgui4 libsmbclient libsmpeg0 libss2
  libssl1.0.0 libsystemd-login0 libudev0 libwbclient0 libwebkitgtk-1.0-0 libwebkitgtk-1.0-common libwebkitgtk-3.0-0
  libwebkitgtk-3.0-common libwebp2 libxml2 libxslt1.1 linux-libc-dev locales lxtask multiarch-support openbox
  openssh-client openssh-server openssl perl perl-base perl-modules pistore poppler-utils procps python
  python-minimal python-numpy python-rpi.gpio python3 python3-minimal python3-numpy python3-rpi.gpio python3.2
  python3.2-minimal rsyslog samba-common sgml-base smbclient ssh sudo sysv-rc sysvinit sysvinit-utils tasksel
  tasksel-data tzdata udev whiptail x11-common xserver-common xserver-xorg xserver-xorg-core xserver-xorg-input-all
150 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B/118 MB of archives.
After this operation, 742 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? Y
Extracting templates from packages: 100%
Preconfiguring packages ...
dpkg: unrecoverable fatal error, aborting:
 files list for package 'gnome-themes-standard-data' is not a regular file
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (2)
pi@raspberrypi:/var/backups$ 

Is this fixable or do I have to flatten and reimage Wheezy on my SD card?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The files list for that package is stored in /var/lib/dpkg/info/gnome-themes-standard-data.list; it is quite surprising this is anything other than a normal file.

I'd suggest ls -l or stat on it, to figure out what it is. If you can explain why its something other than a plain file (say, you symlink'd it somewhere), then undo that. If you didn't do anything to it, or its showing as something crazy, then I suggest an fsck.

If its missing entirely, you can probably grab a new copy from the .deb (extract it using dpkg-deb or ar and tar), but that could leave some cruft on your system (if the installed list didn't match exactly what was in the one from the package).

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Yeah, the SD card totally cacked out on me. I rebooted it, it was fine, then I ran an FSCK and it went kaput. –  BB ON Apr 26 '13 at 2:19
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