Aptitude Package Manager 'Failed to execute child process "-X" (No such file or directory)'

Asked by Robert on 2011-02-08

I've seen this error many times with different packages. This time this is come with Aptitude Package Manager. Has anyone seen a fix for this?

Robert

Question information

Language:
English Edit question
Status:
Solved
For:
Ubuntu aptitude Edit question
Assignee:
No assignee Edit question
Solved by:
Robert
Solved:
2011-02-12
Last query:
2011-02-12
Last reply:
2011-02-10

Can you give the output of:

lsb_release -a; uname -a; sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get upgrade; sudo apt-get --reinstall install nano

Thanks

Robert (archives) said : #2

Sir,

Here's everything that came:

backupuser@X3400:~$ lsb_release -a; uname -a; sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get upgrade; sudo apt-get --reinstall install nano
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description: Ubuntu 10.10
Release: 10.10
Codename: maverick
Linux X3400 2.6.35-25-generic #44-Ubuntu SMP Fri Jan 21 17:40:44 UTC 2011 x86_64 GNU/Linux
Hit http://in.archive.ubuntu.com maverick Release.gpg
Hit http://security.ubuntu.com maverick-security Release.gpg
Ign http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick-security/main Translation-en
Ign http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick-security/main Translation-en_IN
Ign http://in.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick/main Translation-en
Ign http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick-security/multiverse Translation-en
Ign http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick-security/multiverse Translation-en_IN
Ign http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick-security/restricted Translation-en
Ign http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick-security/restricted Translation-en_IN
Ign http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick-security/universe Translation-en
Ign http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick-security/universe Translation-en_IN
Hit http://security.ubuntu.com maverick-security Release
Hit http://extras.ubuntu.com maverick Release.gpg
Ign http://extras.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick/main Translation-en
Ign http://extras.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick/main Translation-en_IN
Ign http://in.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick/main Translation-en_IN
Hit http://security.ubuntu.com maverick-security/restricted amd64 Packages
Hit http://extras.ubuntu.com maverick Release
Ign http://in.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick/multiverse Translation-en
Hit http://security.ubuntu.com maverick-security/multiverse amd64 Packages
Hit http://security.ubuntu.com maverick-security/universe amd64 Packages
Hit http://security.ubuntu.com maverick-security/main amd64 Packages
Hit http://extras.ubuntu.com maverick/main Sources
Hit http://extras.ubuntu.com maverick/main amd64 Packages
Ign http://in.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick/multiverse Translation-en_IN
Ign http://in.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick/restricted Translation-en
Ign http://in.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick/restricted Translation-en_IN
Ign http://in.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick/universe Translation-en
Ign http://in.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ maverick/universe Translation-en_IN
Hit http://in.archive.ubuntu.com maverick Release
Hit http://in.archive.ubuntu.com maverick/restricted Sources
Hit http://in.archive.ubuntu.com maverick/multiverse Sources
Hit http://in.archive.ubuntu.com maverick/restricted amd64 Packages
Hit http://in.archive.ubuntu.com maverick/universe amd64 Packages
Hit http://in.archive.ubuntu.com maverick/main amd64 Packages
Hit http://in.archive.ubuntu.com maverick/multiverse amd64 Packages
Reading package lists... Done
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 1 reinstalled, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 0B/222kB of archives.
After this operation, 0B of additional disk space will be used.
(Reading database ... 144274 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to replace nano 2.2.4-1 (using .../nano_2.2.4-1_amd64.deb) ...
Unpacking replacement nano ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Processing triggers for install-info ...
Processing triggers for doc-base ...
Processing 2 changed doc-base file(s)...
Registering documents with scrollkeeper...
Processing triggers for menu ...
Setting up nano (2.2.4-1) ...
Processing triggers for menu ...
backupuser@X3400:~$

I saw that one thing says re-installed, so I tried Aptitude again and the same message coming.

Robert

I've not used aptitiude but the packages are fine and you can reinstall and install apps without issue (I use nano because it is in all Ubuntus by default and is tiny so is good for those with limited web access).

Can you give your aptitude command as well as the output

Thanks

Robert (archives) said : #4

Sorry, I may not have completely told the problem... I seem to be able to install packages using the apt command in terminal well enough, the error is not coming in terminal. The error is coming when I click Aptitude Package Manager icon in the GUI menu.

Any other suggestion?

Robert

Are you sure its not synaptic or software centre? Aptitude does give a GUI but it is a text based one and looks like this:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/archive/3/32/20081015134800!Aptitude-screenshot.png

Robert (archives) said : #6

Sir,

No, not Synaptic or other. When I go on the desktop to: System --- Administration, in the drop down window there is a link for Aptitude. Synaptic is a few more down the list in the window. When I click aptitude, I get the error.

I am getting the impression that aptitude is for CLI only, is this correct? If so, I am not sure how I got this in this window in the desktop GUI... I am sorry I do not have a way to upload a screen shot of my own.

If this is sounding non-sense, then ok, forget about it, I'll just ignore it or use Edit Menus to make it 'disappear'.

Robert

Robert (archives) said : #7

Sir,

No, not Synaptic or other. When I go on the desktop to: System --- Administration, in the drop down window there is a link for Aptitude. Synaptic is a few more down the list in the window. When I click aptitude, I get the error.

I am getting the impression that aptitude is for CLI only, is this correct? If so, I am not sure how I got this in this window in the desktop GUI... I am sorry I do not have a way to upload a screen shot of my own.

As far as the text based aptitude screen, I can't say, it's not opeing, so I have never seen it actually.

If this whole problem is sounding like non-sense, then ok, forget about it, I'll just ignore it or use Edit Menus to make it 'disappear'. Anyway when I use apt command in CLI it seems to be ok, so the GUI menu not opening is just a minor thing.

Robert

While Aptitude is a command-line program and not traditionally run from your GNOME menus, it certainly can be run from your GNOME menus (it would appear inside a Terminal window, and the Terminal window would quit when you quit Aptitude). By following a few simple steps, you can localize your problem, and then we can solve it.

You said that you're able to run the "apt" command. But while Ubuntu's core package manager is called APT, the "apt" command is not present on many systems and has nothing to do with package management. Rather, it is one of the tools in the Java Development Kit. Do you mean that you're able to run "aptitude" from the command line, or that you're able to run "apt-get" from the command-line...or do you mean something else?

Perhaps your answer to the above question addresses this, but otherwise, are you able to run Aptitude from the Terminal? To accomplish this, go to Applications > Accessories > Terminal, type in "aptitude" without the quotes, and press enter. If you actually want to perform package management actions like installing or removing packages then you'll have to instead run Aptitude as root using "sudo aptitude". If you're able to run Aptitude from the Terminal successfully, then the problem is not with Aptitude itself.

Whether or not you're able to run Aptitude from the Terminal, please examine the menu entry for Aptitude to see if something is wrong with it. To do that, right-click on System (the menu) and click "Edit Menus". The "Main Menu" window will come up, allowing you to edit your menus. In the list on the left (under "Menus:"), scroll down to the very bottom and click Administration (it's the last item). Then in the list on the right (under "Items:"), find the entry for Aptitude, right-click on it, and click Properties. This brings up the "Launcher Properties" window. Don't change the properties just yet (unless you do know how to determine what's wrong with it, and fix it). Instead, tell us what it says for all four fields. The first field ("Type:") is a drop-down menu; you'll have to type in what it says. But the other three fields ("Name:", "Command:", and "Comment:") are text boxes, so for each one, please select all the text in it, copy the text to the clipboard (Ctrl+C), and then paste it here (Ctrl+V). That should reveal if the problem is due to a bad menu item, and if so, specifically what is wrong with the way the menu item is set up.

Finally...you say you've seen this with many different packages. Do you mean that you get this problem when attempting to launch other programs from your menus? If that is what you mean, which other programs does this occur with? If that is not what you mean, please clarify.

Robert (archives) said : #9

'You said that you're able to run the "apt" command... ...Do you mean that you're able to run "aptitude" from the command line, or that you're able to run "apt-get" from the command-line...or do you mean something else?'

Yes I see... I had made an assumption that installing from the command line using 'apt' must be aptitude. When I have installed some items, the command has been 'apt-get' I had assumed this was the same as the 'Aptitude' which was appearing in my menu and not opening correctly. So yes, can run 'get-apt' from command line and seems to work fine.

'...but otherwise, are you able to run Aptitude from the Terminal?'

I have not run anything using the full 'aptitude' command. When I type it in now, the 'terminal GUI' comes up...

Also, at this point I have followed your instructions to see what is showing with the GUI menu link, however the 'Aptitude' link is now not located in the system--administration drop down menu anymore. Don't know why it's not there, I have made a few changes with other packages that I have installed to set this up as an iSCSI server, so maybe something was automatically updated and solved the issue, or what I am not sure.

When I said I have seen this problem with many different packages, I mean when I do a web search for 'Failed to execute child process "-X" (No such file or directory)', it seems many other people have reported this issue with other programs and utilities/packages in Linux/Utbuntu. I have only seen it on my machine with just this one package. Since it seemed that the same error was coming with other packages for other users, it seemed to me that the problem may have been a common one for all packages.... Maybe some common dependency, etc...

As it is now, the issue seems to have disappeared or something fixed it, so I think I must be ok for now. This is my first foray into Linux, I didn't know it had 'self-healing' abilities ;>)

Thank you very much all for the assistance.

Robert

I'm glad that apt-get and aptitude both work from the command line. (You can use aptitude like apt-get, apt-cache, apt-key, etc. by providing arguments; for example, "sudo aptitude install ..." will work similarly to "sudo apt-get install ...".)

It's possible that the entry for aptitude in System > Administration was due to a bug, which was recently fixed. That would explain the "self-healing" abilities to which you refer.

"Failed to execute child process" errors are common (among errors, I mean--as you continue using Ubuntu, I hope you'll find that errors, in general, are not common). This is because that's often the error an application spits out when it tries to run another application but fails due to the other application not existing (or not existing where the first application thought it was). When process A launches process B, A is said to be the parent of B (and B is said to be the child of A). Running an application consists of launching a process, and every application consists of at least one process, though some (like Google Chromium) consist of more than one process. (There are actually some exceptions to this; some applications that are not "standalone" do not have a unique process associated with them, but instead consist of instructions that are interpreted by another process called an interpreter, which performs the actions they designate. Even in that case, however, there is most often one or more running instances of the interpreter process which are specific to that program.)

It is unlikely that there is any executable file called "-X" on your computer, or that any programmer thought there would be. "-X" looks like a flag (i.e. an option) that would be passed to a program as a command-line argument. For example, "ssh -X ..." tells ssh to perform X11 forwarding (so that applications you run on the remote system within the SSH session can display their windows on your local desktop). Perhaps the actual command (before "-X" was left out). This is still a bit strange, though, since "-X" is not a valid flag for aptitude.