Failed Ubuntu apt-get upgrade corrupts the available file

in ubuntu server

I was upgrading Ubuntu packages with

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

The upgrade failed with a segmentation fault. I tried again, but found I had a corrupted /var/lib/dpkg/available file. I first go this error:

dpkg: parse error, in file '/var/lib/dpkg/available' near line 872 package 'ubuntu-serverguide':
 `Depends' field, reference to `libc6': version contains ` '
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (2)

I edited the available file and fixed the problem. But then I got this:

Preconfiguring packages ...
dpkg: parse error, in file '/var/lib/dpkg/available' near line 872 package 'ubuntu-serverguide':
 field name `Conflicts8' must be followed by colon
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (2)

I made more edits and got more errors. It then realized that the file was corrupted. Bummer.

I didn’t know how to recover. But with a little research, I discovered that apt-get doesn’t actually need the available file. You can back it up, create an empty one, and then apt-get will recreate it:

cd /var/lib/dpkg/
sudo mv available available.bak.fjl
sudo touch available

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Presto. The upgrade succeeded and I got a fresh available file in the process. Problem solved.

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