Upgrading my Debian Stretch distribution, I get the following error message during the configuration of package dictionaries-common:

┌───────────────────┤ dictionaries-common: wordlists ├───────────────────┐
|                                                                        |
| Possible debconf database corruption                                   |
|                                                                        |
| The setting for "dictionaries-common/default-wordlist" is missing, but |
| packages providing candidates are installed: "wamerican".              │
|                                                                        |
| This may be due to corruption in the debconf database. See             |
| "/usr/share/doc/dictionaries-common/README.problems" on "Debconf       |
| database corruption".                                                  │
|                                                                        |
| In this case, running "/usr/share/debconf/fix_db.pl" can help to put   |
| the debconf database in a consistent state.                            │
|                                                                        |
| Some questions are likely to be asked after this message in order to   |
| leave the dictionaries system in a (provisionally) working state.      │
|                                                                        |
|                                 <Ok>                                   |
|                                                                        |


  • is this really a corruption, or just a dependencies issue?
  • should I run the fix_db.pl script?
  • +1 for making the effort to post text rather than a screenshot....but next time, use an 80-column or less terminal. – cas Jun 2 '16 at 5:24

All the bugs referenced in /usr/share/doc/dictionaries-common/README.problems are rather old, but then so is the release of the distribution you're using. The fix_db.pl script itself is quite safe, and in any case it leaves a backup — you can run it, and then compare the contents of /var/cache/debconf/config.dat and /var/cache/debconf/config.dat-old, and /var/cache/debconf/templates.dat and /var/cache/debconf/templates.dat-old to see what it changed.

So in your situation I'd back up the debconf files, run the script, and see if it changed anything related to dictionaries-common. If you get an unexpected debconf question during subsequent package upgrades, and you can't remember the appropriate answer, you can look it up in the backups you made.

  • There were no questions asked when I ran the script, and for now I'm not noticing anything wrong, although to be honest I haven't really checked. – einpoklum Jun 1 '16 at 21:51

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