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Does anybody know why apt-file reports that the cache is empty even after running apt-file update and apt update?

[pop-os ~][I]% apt-file search /usr/lib/android-sdk/tools/bin/sdkmanager
E: The cache is empty. You need to run "apt update" first.
[pop-os ~][I]% apt-file update
Reading package lists... Done
E: Could not open lock file /var/lib/apt/lists/lock - open (13: Permission denied)
E: Unable to lock directory /var/lib/apt/lists/
W: Problem unlinking the file /var/cache/apt/pkgcache.bin - RemoveCaches (13: Permission denied)
W: Problem unlinking the file /var/cache/apt/srcpkgcache.bin - RemoveCaches (13: Permission denied)
[pop-os ~][I]% sudo !!
sudo apt-file update
Hit:1 http://apt.pop-os.org/proprietary cosmic InRelease
Hit:2 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic InRelease          
Hit:3 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-updates InRelease                           
Hit:4 http://ppa.launchpad.net/nextcloud-devs/client/ubuntu cosmic InRelease                 
Hit:5 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-security InRelease      
Hit:6 http://repository.spotify.com stable InRelease                                         
Hit:7 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-backports InRelease                         
Get:8 http://apt.pop-os.org/proprietary cosmic all Contents (deb) [102 kB]                   
Hit:9 http://ppa.launchpad.net/system76/pop/ubuntu cosmic InRelease                  
Get:10 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic amd64 Contents (deb) [40.9 MB]             
Get:11 http://apt.pop-os.org/proprietary cosmic i386 Contents (deb) [276 B]                  
Get:12 http://apt.pop-os.org/proprietary cosmic amd64 Contents (deb) [2,605 kB]              
Get:13 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic i386 Contents (deb) [40.2 MB]              
Get:14 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-updates i386 Contents (deb) [5,178 kB]     
Get:15 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-updates amd64 Contents (deb) [6,997 kB]    
Get:16 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-security i386 Contents (deb) [3,784 kB]    
Get:17 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-security amd64 Contents (deb) [5,296 kB]   
Get:18 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-backports amd64 Contents (deb) [3,773 B]   
Get:19 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-backports i386 Contents (deb) [3,772 B]    
Fetched 105 MB in 21s (4,952 kB/s)                                                           
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
148 packages can be upgraded. Run 'apt list --upgradable' to see them.
sudo -E apt-file update  20.30s user 1.16s system 95% cpu 22.585 total
[pop-os ~][I]% apt-file search /usr/lib/android-sdk/tools/bin/sdkmanager
E: The cache is empty. You need to run "apt update" first.
[pop-os ~][I]% apt update
Reading package lists... Done
E: Could not open lock file /var/lib/apt/lists/lock - open (13: Permission denied)
E: Unable to lock directory /var/lib/apt/lists/
W: Problem unlinking the file /var/cache/apt/pkgcache.bin - RemoveCaches (13: Permission denied)
W: Problem unlinking the file /var/cache/apt/srcpkgcache.bin - RemoveCaches (13: Permission denied)
[pop-os ~][I]% sudo !!
sudo apt update
Hit:1 http://apt.pop-os.org/proprietary cosmic InRelease
Hit:2 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic InRelease                                   
Hit:3 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-updates InRelease                           
Hit:4 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-security InRelease                          
Hit:5 http://ppa.launchpad.net/nextcloud-devs/client/ubuntu cosmic InRelease                 
Hit:6 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-backports InRelease     
Get:7 http://apt.pop-os.org/proprietary cosmic i386 Contents (deb) [276 B]                   
Hit:8 http://repository.spotify.com stable InRelease                                         
Get:9 http://apt.pop-os.org/proprietary cosmic all Contents (deb) [102 kB]                   
Hit:10 http://ppa.launchpad.net/system76/pop/ubuntu cosmic InRelease                 
Get:11 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic amd64 Contents (deb) [40.9 MB]       
Get:12 http://apt.pop-os.org/proprietary cosmic amd64 Contents (deb) [2,605 kB]              
Get:13 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic i386 Contents (deb) [40.2 MB]              
Get:14 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-updates i386 Contents (deb) [5,178 kB]     
Get:15 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-updates amd64 Contents (deb) [6,997 kB]    
Get:16 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-security amd64 Contents (deb) [5,296 kB]   
Get:17 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-security i386 Contents (deb) [3,784 kB]    
Get:18 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-backports i386 Contents (deb) [3,772 B]    
Get:19 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu cosmic-backports amd64 Contents (deb) [3,773 B]   
Fetched 105 MB in 21s (4,963 kB/s)                                                           
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
148 packages can be upgraded. Run 'apt list --upgradable' to see them.
sudo -E apt update  20.24s user 1.15s system 95% cpu 22.470 total
[pop-os ~][I]% apt-file search /usr/lib/android-sdk/tools/bin/sdkmanager
E: The cache is empty. You need to run "apt update" first.
[pop-os ~][I]% sudo !!
sudo apt-file search /usr/lib/android-sdk/tools/bin/sdkmanager
E: The cache is empty. You need to run "apt update" first.

Distro is Pop!_OS (an Ubuntu derivative), but I couldn't find a Pop!_OS tag.

  • I'm getting this too. Did you solve it? – Paul Knopf Apr 27 at 17:36
  • @PaulKnopf no, I never figured it out, unfortunately. Still looking for a solution. – jayhendren Apr 27 at 22:11
  • This happened to me with a fresh installation of elementaryOS 5.0 (Freya) as well. Still trying to figure it out. – TheDudeAbides May 16 at 16:05
  • This issue magically went away on its own after some routine apt updates. I wasn't really paying too much attention so I'm not sure exactly which package updates fixed the issue, but everything's working now, so... yay, I guess? – jayhendren May 16 at 17:04
  • Ditto. I was really hoping to get to the bottom of this, because something that just fixes itself is really unsatisfying. But after a reboot, something like apt-file search libQtXml.so.4, which didn't work before, just... worked. Possibly related bug, though: bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=874669 – TheDudeAbides May 16 at 20:48

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