I am trying to run the command dpkg --configure -a in order to fix dpkg so I can apt-get programs.

I get the error addgroup: The group 'systemd-journal' already exists as a system group. Exiting.

This apparently corresponds to the following bug.


Is there a way to overcome this problem for now to get my system working until the bug gets fixed?

The system is Ubuntu 16.04 server 32 bit.

  • Does the systemd-journal have any members? What's the output of grep 'systemd-journal:' /etc/group?
    – terdon
    Jul 11, 2016 at 10:49
  • It appears that the group has no members, There is no output at all.
    – Huw Evans
    Jul 11, 2016 at 10:59
  • That shouldn't be a halting error in the first place. Have you filed a bg?
    – Shadur
    Jul 11, 2016 at 12:14
  • There is already a bug in place. ie the one listed above. Should I add myself to the list of effected users or something?
    – Huw Evans
    Jul 11, 2016 at 19:13

1 Answer 1


If the group is empty, you could just remove it and then run your dpkg command. Since the command itself, apparently, creates the group, after running it everything should be fine. So, first:

sudo delgroup --only-if-empty systemd-journal

And then

sudo dpkg --configure -a

Once that has run, make sure the group was recreated and, if not, create it again.

  • 1
    That solved the problem. I had to reboot for some reason but it's working now.
    – Huw Evans
    Jul 11, 2016 at 11:28
  • You could just log off X Windows and log in again or run another shell and start virtualbox from there. New added groups does not propagate on running shell or X Windows. Jun 27, 2017 at 6:48

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