Ubuntu: PostgreSQL fails to reinstall after upgrading Ubuntu 12.04 to 14.04


I ran do-release-upgrade to update an Ubuntu 12.04 server to Ubuntu 14.04. It seemed to go smoothly, but when I did apt-get update after the upgrade I notice the PostgreSQL packages were still looking at the precise repos instead of the trusty repos. I followed the instructions here to add the trusty repos and moved the .list file containing the precise repos to a temporary directory as a backup. After I did that, sudo apt-get upgrade failed and I was not able to get it to run completely again even after restoring the precise repos. I did not happen to grab the error messages. Since this is a development server and all the data is non-essential, I decided just to re-install PostgreSQL. This repeatedly failed after several attempts to clear out any custom configuration we may have had on the server that I thought might be interfering. I am able to do sudo apt-get install postgresql-common successfully, but if I try sudo apt-get install postgresql-9.5 it fails with the following:

Setting up postgresql-9.5 (9.5.5-1.pgdg14.04+1) ...  Creating new cluster 9.5/main ...    config /etc/postgresql/9.5/main    data   /var/lib/postgresql/9.5/main    locale en_US.UTF-8    socket /var/run/postgresql    port   5432  update-alternatives: using /usr/share/postgresql/9.5/man/man1/postmaster.1.gz to provide /usr/share/man/man1/postmaster.1.gz (postmaster.1.gz) in auto mode   * Starting PostgreSQL 9.5 database server                                                                                                * Failed to issue method call: Unit postgresql@9.5-main.service failed to load: No such file or directory. See system logs and 'systemctl status postgresql@9.5-main.service' for details.                                                                                                                                 [fail]  invoke-rc.d: initscript postgresql, action "start" failed.  dpkg: error processing package postgresql-9.5 (--configure):   subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 1  dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of postgresql-contrib-9.5:   postgresql-contrib-9.5 depends on postgresql-9.5 (= 9.5.5-1.pgdg14.04+1); however:    Package postgresql-9.5 is not configured yet.    dpkg: error processing package postgresql-contrib-9.5 (--configure):   dependency problems - leaving unconfigured  Setting up sysstat (10.2.0-1) ...  No apport report written because the error message indicates its a followup error from a previous failure.                                                                                                            update-alternatives: using /usr/bin/sar.sysstat to provide /usr/bin/sar (sar) in auto mode  Processing triggers for libc-bin (2.19-0ubuntu6.9) ...  Errors were encountered while processing:   postgresql-9.5   postgresql-contrib-9.5  E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)    Jan 17 15:31:31 beta kernel: [    4.029504] systemd-journald[543]: Failed to resolve 'systemd-journal' group: No such process  

If I try systemctl status postgresql@9.5-main.service I get:

postgresql@9.5-main.service     Loaded: error (Reason: No such file or directory)     Active: inactive (dead)  

The /var/log/postgresql/postgresql-9.5-main.log log file is empty, so I'm not sure where else to check for logs. After failing to install, I go through the steps here to do a complete uninstallation. I can't tell if this an issue with PostgreSQL or the upgraded server.

UPDATE: The output of dpkg -l "postgresql*":

Desired=Unknown/Install/Remove/Purge/Hold  | Status=Not/Inst/Conf-files/Unpacked/halF-conf/Half-inst/trig-aWait/Trig-pend  |/ Err?=(none)/Reinst-required (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)  ||/ Name                         Version             Architecture        Description  +++-============================-===================-===================-==============================================================  un  postgresql-7.4               <none>              <none>              (no description available)  un  postgresql-8.0               <none>              <none>              (no description available)  un  postgresql-9.1               <none>              <none>              (no description available)  iF  postgresql-9.5               9.5.5-1.pgdg14.04+1 amd64               object-relational SQL database, version 9.5 server  un  postgresql-client            <none>              <none>              (no description available)  ii  postgresql-client-9.5        9.5.5-1.pgdg14.04+1 amd64               front-end programs for PostgreSQL 9.5  ii  postgresql-client-common     178.pgdg14.04+1     all                 manager for multiple PostgreSQL client versions  ii  postgresql-common            178.pgdg14.04+1     all                 PostgreSQL database-cluster manager  iU  postgresql-contrib-9.5       9.5.5-1.pgdg14.04+1 amd64               additional facilities for PostgreSQL  un  postgresql-doc-9.5           <none>              <none>              (no description available)  


I had the same problem, upgraded Ubuntu 12.04 to 14.04. Don't know but it also using systemd. While checking /etc/init.d/postgresql file it uses /usr/share/postgresql-common/init.d-functions.

This file executes /usr/bin/pg_ctlcluster to start and stop postgresql server.

if [ "$1" = "stop" ] || [ "$1" = "restart" ]; then      ERRMSG=$(pg_ctlcluster --force "$2" "$name" $1 2>&1)  else      ERRMSG=$(pg_ctlcluster "$2" "$name" $1 2>&1)  fi  

/usr/bin/pg_ctlcluster file accepts --skip-systemctl-redirect option to start or stop postgresql without systectl.

So you need to add --skip-systemctl-redirect in /usr/share/postgresql-common/init.d-functions in do_ctl_all() function. So it will look like this.

if [ "$1" = "stop" ] || [ "$1" = "restart" ]; then      ERRMSG=$(pg_ctlcluster --skip-systemctl-redirect --force "$2" "$name" $1 2>&1)  else      ERRMSG=$(pg_ctlcluster --skip-systemctl-redirect "$2" "$name" $1 2>&1)  fi  

Or you can add $skip_systemctl_redirect = 1; before $skip_systemctl_redirect is checked in /usr/bin/pg_ctlcluster.


The same issue on Ubuntu upgraded from 12.04 to 14.04

Fixed by adding the line

alias pg_ctlcluster="pg_ctlcluster --skip-systemctl-redirect"  

in /usr/share/postgresql-common/init.d-functions after


in puppet it looks like this

  package { 'postgresql-common': ensure => 'installed' }    file_line { 'Patch 1 /usr/share/postgresql-common/init.d-functions':      path => '/usr/share/postgresql-common/init.d-functions',      line => 'alias pg_ctlcluster="pg_ctlcluster --skip-systemctl-redirect"',      after => "init_functions=/lib/lsb/init-functions",    }  


re-edit: Ubuntu 14.04 doesn't use systemd by default for service/init management. For some reason, your install is using systemd (do you know why?), but it should be using upstart with a wrapper for legacy sysV startup scripts.

The postgresql-9.5 package does not provide a systemd startup unit file, instead it provides a sysV script which upstart handles fine (just tested here).

Possible options:

  1. Switch back to upstart for init management
  2. Write your own systemd startup script for postgresql-9.5

...and I'm out of ideas ;)


After search while, I came to this post because my server have multiple versions of Postgresql 9.4, 9.5, 9.6 and got the same behavior.

sudo pg_lsclusters 9.4 main status  Ver Cluster Port Status Owner    Data directory               Log file  9.4 main    5432 down   postgres /var/lib/postgresql/9.4/main   /var/log/postgresql/postgresql-9.4-main.log  9.5 main    5433 down   postgres /var/lib/postgresql/9.5/main   /var/log/postgresql/postgresql-9.5-main.log  9.6 main    5434 down   postgres /var/lib/postgresql/9.6/main   /var/log/postgresql/postgresql-9.6-main.log  

Trying to start postgresql keep showing:

sudo pg_ctlcluster 9.4 main start  Redirecting start request to systemctl  Failed to issue method call: Unit postgresql@9.4-main.service failed to load: No such file or directory. See system logs and 'systemctl status postgresql@9.4-main.service' for details.  

After read all answers, I like more the answer: https://askubuntu.com/a/877472/130195 But if wants to keep systemd installed which is not fully supported by Ubuntu 14.04 follow that hack.

But I think we don't needs systemd and I've used aptitude to know whats is demands to install systemd version 204, on my system was upower, I don't need upower either. Removing anything I don't needed anymore and all three versions of postgresql is working again.

I think just a simple sudo apt-get purge systemd && sudo apt-get autoremove resolve better the problem by remove systemd package.

WARNING: Please, be carefully before remove any package, pay attention to what will remove with very carefully.

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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