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I'm trying to install virtual box in Debian 10.5 and I'm getting error messages about unmet dependencies. Tried numerous solutions however nothing has worked. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Here is the command and output:

sudo apt-get install virtualbox linux-headers-$(dpkg --print-architecture)
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
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:
virtualbox : Depends: python3 (>= 3.8~) but 3.7.3-1 is to be installed

Depends: python3.8 but it is not installable
Depends: libgcc-s1 (>= 3.0) but it is not installable
Depends: libgsoap-2.8.91 but it is not installable
Depends: libpython3.8 (>= 3.8.2) but it is not installable
Depends: libvpx6 (>= 1.6.0) but it is not installable
Recommends: virtualbox-qt (= 6.1.6-dfsg-1) but it is not going to be installed
Recommends: libqt5core5a (>= 5.12.2) but it is not going to be installed
Recommends: libqt5gui5 (>= 5.0.2) but it is not going to be installed or libqt5gui5-gles (>= 5.0.2) but it is not installable
Recommends: libqt5opengl5 (>= 5.0.2) but it is not going to be installed
Recommends: libqt5widgets5 (>= 5.0.2) but it is not going to be installed

E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

Here are my sources currently. Perhaps I need to add something?

cat /etc/apt/sources.list
# 

# deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 10.5.0 _Buster_ - Official amd64 NETINST 20200801-11:34]/ buster main

#deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 10.5.0 _Buster_ - Official amd64 NETINST 20200801-11:34]/ buster main

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian/ buster main
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian/ buster main

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

# buster-updates, previously known as 'volatile'
deb http://deb.debian.org/debian/ buster-updates main
deb-src http://deb.debian.org/debian/ buster-updates main
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  • 1
    There is no package called virtualbox in Debian Buster. ( packages.debian.org/sid/virtualbox ) Use virt-manager instead. Aug 17, 2020 at 21:20
  • He's installing an official deb package from Oracle. I see no issues with that. Aug 17, 2020 at 21:37
  • It seems that there actually isn't a package of virtual box for Debian Buster: wiki.debian.org/VirtualBox. I will have to give virt manager a try and see if that's possible to configure. Thanks for your help Ipor and Artem
    – Abe D
    Aug 18, 2020 at 5:32

3 Answers 3

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For Debian 10 you should use Lucas Nussbaum’s packages.

(I won’t reproduce the instructions here; if the link above is no longer available, the packages aren’t either.)

As mentioned on the Debian wiki’s page on Virtual Box, the recommended virtualisation manager on Debian is libvirt, which has a number of frontends such as virt-manager or GNOME Boxes.

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  • Thanks Stephen, I could not get Lucas' package to work, however I found these instructions: vitux.com/how-to-install-virtualbox-on-debian-10 Are there any downsides or security risks to using Virtual box installed from these instructions?
    – Abe D
    Aug 18, 2020 at 22:15
  • The potential downside is trusting the repository owners (or anyone who can impersonate them); as for any security risks, you’d have to explain what scenarios you’re considering. Aug 19, 2020 at 7:36
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The issue is due to virtualbox : Depends: python3 (>= 3.8~) but 3.7.3-1 is to be installed : Debian stable doesn't provide a fresh enough version of Python. Looks like the package was built for Ubuntu 20.10 in mind.

You can try installing Python from Debian Testing (it contains Python 3.8) but it may break your system in various unexpected ways:

https://serverfault.com/questions/22414/how-can-i-run-debian-stable-but-install-some-packages-from-testing

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On Debian 12, I also got dependencies issues when trying to install VirtualBox from the Fast Track repository but it was because the instructions on https://fasttrack.debian.net/ were not updated (it mentioned bullseye instead of bookworm codename).

Before finding the solution, I started using virt-manager like suggested by other people and it looks like a good alternative to VirtualBox (which has the disadvantage to have some features like camera support that is not open source using the Extension Pack).

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