webmin-quota error in apt-get/aptitude

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#1 Fri, 12/13/2013 - 06:44

webmin-quota error in apt-get/aptitude

I am running Virtualmin on Debian. Any time I install any debian package through apt-get or aptitude it sees that webmin-quota is also supposed to be installed. It tries to install it, then spits out the following errors:

Setting up webmin-quota (1.180-3) ...
/var/lib/dpkg/info/webmin-quota.postinst: line 4: /usr/sbin/update-webmin: No such file or directory
dpkg: error processing webmin-quota (--configure):
subprocess post-installation script returned error exit status 1
Errors were encountered while processing:
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)
A package failed to install.  Trying to recover:

It seems the error message is correct (update-webmin is missing). See the following output:

root@webhost1:~# cd /usr/sbin/
root@webhost1:/usr/sbin# ls update-*
update-alternatives    update-default-wordlist   update-fonts-scale        update-gtk-immodules  update-mime              update-python-modules
update-catalog         update-dictcommon-aspell  update-gconf-defaults     update-inetd          update-openoffice-dicts  update-rc.d
update-default-aspell  update-fonts-alias        update-gdkpixbuf-loaders  update-initramfs      update-pangox-aliases    update-usermin
update-default-ispell  update-fonts-dir          update-grub               update-locale         update-passwd            update-xmlcatalog

No update-webmin

Howe can I fix this (without breaking something else in the process)?



Fri, 12/13/2013 - 06:54

So I thought maybe I could just copy update-webmin over from another box in case it just got deleted. So I connected to a very similar debian server (also running virtualmin). But update-webmin didn't even exist in /usr/sbin/. I also couldn't find it with locate.

The box having the problem is running Webmin 1.600 with Virtualmin 3.942 GPL The box not having the problem is running Webmin 1.660 with Virtualmin 4.02 Pro

Another odd thing is that the happy Virtualmin Pro box doesn't even have webmin-quota installed (or available via aptitude). I also can't find it using locate.

Any ideas?

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 07:04

Interestingly, /etc/apt/sources.list on the problem server has no reference to virtualmin/webmin. It only has the 2 standard lines for debian and debian-src. Also the sources.list.d directory doesn't have anything for virtualmin/webmin.

So why the heck is apt-get/aptitude even trying to touch webmin at all? This makes me think that originally (years back) when I installed webmin on this box, maybe I originally did it via the standard debian repository (which of course would be their forked/packaged webmin).

However, I've been using Virtualmin on this box for at least 2-4 years (maybe 5), and installed many updates along the way (via Virtualmin). So.... I'm just not sure where to go from here, but hopefully this information can help someone to figure out how to help me. :-)

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 07:06

Okay, so I decided to show the info on the webmin-quota package. Unfortunately, it most definitely is coming from debian package maintainers:

root@webhost1:/etc/apt# aptitude show webmin-quota
Package: webmin-quota
State: partially configured
Automatically installed: yes
Version: 1.180-3
Priority: optional
Section: admin
Maintainer: Debian Webmin maintainers <webmin-maintainers@lists.alioth.debian.org>
Uncompressed Size: 872k
Depends: webmin (>= 1.140), webmin-core, perl, quota
Description: disk quota control module for webmin
This module allows webmin (a web-based interface for system administration for Unix) to manage disk quotas.
Fri, 12/13/2013 - 07:17

So apparently I even originally installed virtualmin via the debian maintainers packages. Here are all "wecmin" packages installed via aptitude:

root@webhost1:/etc/apt# aptitude search webmin*
i   webmin                                                                      - web-based administration interface for Unix systems
i A webmin-apache                                                               - apache control module for webmin
c   webmin-bind                                                                 - bind 8+ control module for webmin
v   webmin-bind8                                                                -
i A webmin-core                                                                 - core modules for webmin
i   webmin-logrotate                                                            - log rotation module for webmin
i A webmin-mailboxes                                                            - user mail reading module for webmin
i A webmin-mysql                                                                - mysql-server control module for webmin
i A webmin-postfix                                                              - postfix control module for webmin
i A webmin-postgresql                                                           - postgresql control module for webmin
i A webmin-proftpd                                                              - Proftpd module for webmin
C A webmin-quota                                                                - disk quota control module for webmin
v   webmin-raid                                                                 -
i   webmin-usermin                                                              - usermin control module for webmin
i   webmin-virtual-server                                                       - virtual hosting management module for webmin (virtualmin)
i A webmin-webalizer                                                            - webalizer control module for webmin

And here's the specific info on the virtualmin package:

root@webhost1:/etc/apt# aptitude show webmin-virtual-server
Package: webmin-virtual-server
State: installed
Automatically installed: no
Version: 2.50-1
Priority: optional
Section: admin
Maintainer: Debian Webmin Maintainers <webmin-maintainers@lists.alioth.debian.org>
Uncompressed Size: 1675k
Depends: webmin, webmin-core, perl
Recommends: apache | apache-perl | apache-ssl, webmin-apache, postfix | sendmail, webmin-postfix | webmin-sendmail, bind | bind9, webmin-bind, mysql-server,
            webmin-mysql, postgresql, webmin-postgresql, webalizer, webmin-webalizer, proftpd | proftpd-mysql | proftpd-pgsql, webmin-proftpd, quota, webmin-quota,
Provides: virtualmin
Description: virtual hosting management module for webmin (virtualmin)
Virtualmin is a virtual hosting management system that integrates cleanly into webmin (a web-based interface for system administration for Unix.)


So I realize that at some point in the past I broke a holy rule of not mixing disto packages with pure software straight from the source (webmin/virtualmin). I realize I should have completely removed all debian-provided webmin/virtualmin packages and then reinstalled virtualmin using the install script you guys provide.

But it seems that was a mistake made years ago. And now I truly believe I have installed plenty of updates directly inside of Virtualmin, which of course also is probably unsupported and could produce unexpected results (considering that the original install source was not directly from webmin/virtualmin.

If this were no the case, I think I wouldn't be on Virtualmin 3.942 GPL. while the aptitude info thinks I'm on 2.50-1.

Is there any hope for me? Virtualmin & Webmin both seem to work fine on the box.

Maybe I should just figure out how to tell apt-get/aptitude to permanently ignore anything having to do with webmin & virtualmin?

Your help is appreciated.

- Doug

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 07:21

This guy has a similar (but different) problem as me: http://www.crazysquirrel.com/computing/debian/servers/webmin-install.jspx

I'm not sure how I feel about his solution though...

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 07:27

So it seems that there are others who have run into this problem. This is revealed by googling (with the quotation marks): "/usr/sbin/update-webmin"

However, I'm not sure that any of those folks realize how they got into the predicament. I believe I do at least understand how I got into the problem. I'm just not sure what the best way out is...

This is additionally concerning because I would like to upgrade my linux distro (Debian) version in order to continue receiving security patches, etc. So I don't want to leave a lingering problem that will bite me in the backside if not dealt with now.

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 08:09

Okay, so after some more research, here is my proposed solution:

  1. Put all webmin/virtalmin packages "on hold" via aptitude.
  2. If possible, install my exact Webmin & Virtualmin versions on top of themselves.
  3. Confirm all is working well & realize that I must never again install/update Webmin/Virtualmin via apt-get/aptitude on this box. Instead it must all be done via the Webmin/Virtualmin web interfaces.

Anyone have an opinion on whether this will put me in a clean state going forward? My concerns are:

  1. I think that putting packages "on hold" is an effective way to let them be completely ignored (even when doing distro upgrades), but I'm not positive. This will need confirmed.
  2. Will #2 above actually work? Where can I get my hands on the files/installers for my existing (older) versions of webmin/virtualmin?
  3. Webmin/Virtualmin can exist just fine on Debian without actually relying on the dpk (apt-get/aptitude) system, correct?

Thanks in advance for any help on this!


Doug Mortensen Impala Networks

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 08:11

One user here says that putting packages on hold is not a desirable way to leave a system in the long-term: Also worth pointing out, package holds do break upgrades and patches sometimes by creating a situation where there is no legal solution apt can calculate to a dependency. If package foo has a == < or <= dependency on libbar, then apt will refuse to upgrade libbar as well as foo. Over time, these cascading dependencies may grow to block a large number of updates, including important security updates. You'll need to either remove the hold and let the upgrade happen, or rebuild the packages you are holding against newer versions of its dependencies if this happens. – Stephanie Aug 2 '12 at 5:22 Found here: http://askubuntu.com/questions/18654/how-to-prevent-updating-of-a-specif...


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 08:39


Hmm, I'm not familiar with the webmin-quota package... that's not something that's normally installed, and it's not installed on any of my Virtualmin systems.

What output does this command produce:

dpkg -l 'webmin*'
Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:37


Here's the output:

root@webhost1:/usr/sbin# dpkg -l 'webmin*'
| Status=Not/Installed/Config-files/Unpacked/Failed-config/Half-installed
|/ Err?=(none)/Hold/Reinst-required/X=both-problems (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
||/ Name                                          Version                                       Description
ii  webmin                                        1.600                                         web-based administration interface for Unix systems
un  webmin-adsl                                   <none>                                        (no description available)
ii  webmin-apache                                 1.180-3                                       apache control module for webmin
un  webmin-bandwidth                              <none>                                        (no description available)
rc  webmin-bind                                   1.180-4                                       bind 8+ control module for webmin
un  webmin-bind8                                  <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-burner                                 <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-cfengine                               <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-cluster                                <none>                                        (no description available)
ii  webmin-core                                   1.180-3sarge1                                 core modules for webmin
un  webmin-cpan                                   <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-dhcpd                                  <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-exim                                   <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-exports                                <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-fetchmail                              <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-firewall                               <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-freeswan                               <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-frox                                   <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-fsdump                                 <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-grub                                   <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-heartbeat                              <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-htaccess                               <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-inetd                                  <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-jabber                                 <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-ldap-netgroups                         <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-ldap-user-simple                       <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-ldap-useradmin                         <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-lilo                                   <none>                                        (no description available)
ii  webmin-logrotate                              1.180-3                                       log rotation module for webmin
un  webmin-lpadmin                                <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-lvm                                    <none>                                        (no description available)
ii  webmin-mailboxes                              1.180-3                                       user mail reading module for webmin
un  webmin-mon                                    <none>                                        (no description available)
ii  webmin-mysql                                  1.180-3                                       mysql-server control module for webmin
un  webmin-nis                                    <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-openslp                                <none>                                        (no description available)
ii  webmin-postfix                                1.180-4                                       postfix control module for webmin
ii  webmin-postgresql                             1.180-3                                       postgresql control module for webmin
un  webmin-ppp                                    <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-pptp-client                            <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-pptp-server                            <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-procmail                               <none>                                        (no description available)
ii  webmin-proftpd                                1.180-4                                       Proftpd module for webmin
un  webmin-pserver                                <none>                                        (no description available)
rF  webmin-quota                                  1.180-3                                       disk quota control module for webmin
un  webmin-raid                                   <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-samba                                  <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-sarg                                   <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-sendmail                               <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-shorewall                              <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-slbackup                               <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-smart-status                           <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-snort                                  <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-software                               <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-spamassassin                           <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-squid                                  <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-sshd                                   <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-status                                 <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-stunnel                                <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-updown                                 <none>                                        (no description available)
ii  webmin-usermin                                1.180-4                                       usermin control module for webmin
un  webmin-vgetty                                 <none>                                        (no description available)
ii  webmin-virtual-server                         2.50-1                                        virtual hosting management module for webmin (virtualmin)
ii  webmin-webalizer                              1.180-3                                       webalizer control module for webmin
un  webmin-wuftpd                                 <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-wvdial                                 <none>                                        (no description available)
un  webmin-xinetd                                 <none>                                        (no description available)
Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:45

Hmm, what version of Debian are you using?

You can determine that by running:

cat /etc/issue

Yeah, it does appear that the Virtualmin 2.50 .deb has been installed.

Do you recall how Virtualmin was initially installed on this server? Was that using the install.sh script?


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 13:19

It's Debian 4.0. I know it's been w/o security patches for some time which is why I'm needing to upgrade the distro... (I know I should have done this 2-4 years ago).

Although I can't recall for sure (it was years ago), I do believe that I originally installed Virtualmin via apt-get through the packages from the Debian distro (obviously in hind-sight, I would never do that again).

But then later I believe that I've done many updates to Webmin/Virtualmin directly through Webmin/Virtualmin, rather than via apt-get/aptitude.


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 14:40


Aha, that explains some things :-)

In fact, the package versions I'm seeing there suggest that at least some of them may have been initially installed as part of Debian 3.1, Sarge.

Here are the issues you may have in attempting to upgrade --

You appear to have a mixture of packages/modules installed via apt, and those installed manually. That's causing some confusion in Webmin, and may make upgrading difficult.

There isn't a Virtualmin/Webmin repository for Debian Sarge or Etch. If your sources.list points to something specific to Sarge or Etch, it won't see any of the packages from the Virtualmin repository here.

You have a number of Webmin related packages installed, that aren't normally used, and are likely specific to Debian. They appear to be causing dependency problems for you, as you attempt to upgrade.

It may be a bit of a mess to try and get it all to work smoothly :-)

In fact, I have some concerns as to whether it's possible at all -- you may want to make a copy of this server, if at all possible, and do some testing on all this using that copy, rather than changing your live server.

However, one thing I'll offer is that -- preferably on a test server first -- you may want to review the output of "dpkg -l 'webmin*'" on your server that's working properly -- and Webmin packages that you don't see on the server that works, remove them from your server that is not working.

For example, you shouldn't need the webmin-quota package -- that's not something that you'd have when installing from the Virtualmin software repository.

The same goes for many of those other Webmin related packages, showing a version of "1.180".

The problem though is that I'm not sure what sort of problems you may run into while removing those. I'm not sure how they're being used, and what all might be deleted while removing those packages.

That's why I'd recommend doing this on a test system.

After removing the packages, then you could try upgrading your Webmin package to a current version, and that package no longer exists within Debian. Again though, preferably on a test system.

That's quite a leap though, going from those old Webmin/Virtualmin versions, to current versions -- and it may not be a smooth process to perform such an upgrade, even if all other conditions were ideal. Which, unfortunately, they don't appear to be :-)


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 17:32

Thanks for your suggestions Eric. Sounds like maybe it's just time to retire this VM. We've been considering it anyway. I guess I'll start to plan on migrating the remaining sites & email off of it over to our Squeeze VM.

Thanks so much for your help on this. Now I know what direction I have to go with.

Sincerely, -Doug

Fri, 12/13/2013 - 17:58


If migrating is an option -- you really may find that easier. And since you do have Virtualmin working, it sounds like, you could use that to perform the migration.

There's instructions for performing a migration using Virtualmin here:


The process is essentially a matter of generating backups on one server, and then importing those backups into Virtualmin running on another server.


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