Ubuntu: “The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened”



Question:

Everytime I sudo apt-get update it always not complete and will say in the end

E: Read error - read (5: Input/output error)  E: The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.  

Same goes, when I try to install something and do sudo apt-get install <some app>

What should I do ? I admit, that my drive has bad sectors, could that be the reason? Is there anything else I can do?


Solution:1

Try using an older status file,

sudo mv /var/lib/dpkg/status /var/lib/dpkg/status.bad  sudo cp /var/lib/dpkg/status-old /var/lib/dpkg/status  sudo apt-get update  


Solution:2

This is old question, but just for archive purpose... the follow was what solve this problem in my case:

sudo rm /var/lib/apt/lists/* -vf  sudo apt-get clean  sudo apt-get update  


Solution:3

I was running into a similar error:

Reading package lists... Error!  E: Encountered a section with no Package: header  E: Problem with MergeList /var/lib/dpkg/status  E: The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.  

I followed similar suggestions to copy status-old.

$ head /var/lib/dpkg/status  $ head /var/lib/dpkg/status-old  

All of my status files were blank for some reason. Luckily, I found out there are backups of these files:

$ ls -l /var/backups/dpkg.status.*  -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 444620 Nov 15 06:33 /var/backups/dpkg.status.0  -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 444620 Nov 15 06:33 /var/backups/dpkg.status.1.gz  -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 128168 Sep 20  2013 /var/backups/dpkg.status.2.gz  -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 112545 Sep 16  2013 /var/backups/dpkg.status.3.gz  -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 107767 Sep 14  2013 /var/backups/dpkg.status.4.gz  -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 107766 Sep 11  2013 /var/backups/dpkg.status.5.gz  -rw-r--r-- 1 root root  94583 Sep 11  2013 /var/backups/dpkg.status.6.gz  

I checked the latest backup...

$ head /var/backups/dpkg.status.0  

...but it was still blank. So I unzipped an older one...

$ gunzip /var/backups/dpkg.status.1.gz  $ head /var/backups/dpkg.status.1  

This time there was content. So I copied it...

$ cp /var/backups/dpkg.status.1 /var/lib/dpkg/status  

Then apt-get update ran without problems.

Credit goes to this post.


Solution:4

I had a similar error, but the problem was not in dpkg.status, but in an apt listing.

To check the likely cause, run strace -efile apt install something. Then look for the last files accessed before the error message shows:

stat("/var/lib/apt/lists/linux.dropbox.com_ubuntu_dists_xenial_main_i18n_Translation-en%5fUS.uncompressed", 0x7fffd2f39d00) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)  stat("/var/lib/apt/lists/linux.dropbox.com_ubuntu_dists_xenial_main_i18n_Translation-en%5fUS", 0x7fffd2f39e50) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)  stat("/var/lib/apt/lists/www.fossology.org_releases_2.6.2_Ubuntu_dists_14.04_InRelease", 0x7fffd2f39d10) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)  stat("/var/lib/apt/lists/www.fossology.org_releases_2.6.2_Ubuntu_dists_14.04_Release", {st_mode=S_IFREG|0644, st_size=0, ...}) = 0  stat("/var/lib/apt/lists/www.fossology.org_releases_2.6.2_Ubuntu_dists_14.04_InRelease", 0x7fffd2f396d0) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)  stat("/var/lib/apt/lists/www.fossology.org_releases_2.6.2_Ubuntu_dists_14.04_Release", {st_mode=S_IFREG|0644, st_size=0, ...}) = 0  stat("/tmp", {st_mode=S_IFDIR|S_ISVTX|0777, st_size=57344, ...}) = 0  open("/tmp/fileutl.message.XlglFW", O_RDWR|O_CREAT|O_EXCL, 0600) = 5  unlink("/tmp/fileutl.message.XlglFW")   = 0  open("/var/lib/apt/lists/www.fossology.org_releases_2.6.2_Ubuntu_dists_14.04_Release", O_RDONLY) = 6  open("/var/lib/apt/lists/www.fossology.org_releases_2.6.2_Ubuntu_dists_14.04_Release", O_RDONLY) = 5  stat("/var/lib/apt/lists/www.fossology.org_releases_2.6.2_Ubuntu_dists_14.04_Release", {st_mode=S_IFREG|0644, st_size=0, ...}) = 0  Reading package lists... Done  E: The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.  +++ exited with 100 +++  

In my case, the last file (a Release file from fossology) turned out to be 0 bytes long. Removing that repository enabled apt to resume normal functionality


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