install of 'gv' package failed with 'no dir file specified'

Bug #316557 reported by Scot Becker on 2009-01-12
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
gv (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: gv

install of gv (1:3.6.4-3) using 'apt-get' failed with the error 'no dir file specified'. Full error report follows:

Get:1 intrepid/main xaw3dg 1.5+E-15 [156kB]
Get:2 intrepid/universe gv 1:3.6.4-3 [178kB]
Fetched 334kB in 6s (52.1kB/s)
debconf: unable to initialize frontend: Dialog
debconf: (Dialog frontend requires a screen at least 13 lines tall and 31 columns wide.)
 {{note that I had my terminal window at reduced height, but could that have cause the problem?}
debconf: falling back to frontend: Readline
Selecting previously deselected package xaw3dg.
(Reading database ... 145740 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking xaw3dg (from .../xaw3dg_1.5+E-15_i386.deb) ...
Selecting previously deselected package gv.
Unpacking gv (from .../gv_1%3a3.6.4-3_i386.deb) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up xaw3dg (1.5+E-15) ...

Setting up gv (1:3.6.4-3) ...
install-info: No dir file specified; try --help for more information.
dpkg: error processing gv (--configure):
 subprocess post-installation script returned error exit status 1
Processing triggers for libc6 ...
ldconfig deferred processing now taking place
Errors were encountered while processing:
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

Apparently 1 package is installed correctly, the other not.

The command 'gv' does launch ghostview, but I haven't tested to see if it does everything as it should.

This is on Ubuntu 8.10, 32 bit.

*** UPDATE ***
I just got the same error installing GNU Enscript, which makes me think it's something on my own system. A messed up path for GNU info?

ProblemType: Package
Architecture: i386
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 8.10
ErrorMessage: subprocess post-installation script returned error exit status 1
Package: gv 1:3.6.4-3
SourcePackage: gv
Title: package gv 1:3.6.4-3 failed to install/upgrade: subprocess post-installation script returned error exit status 1
Uname: Linux 2.6.27-9-generic i686

Scot Becker (scot-becker) wrote :
description: updated
Florian Diesch (diesch) wrote :

Thank you for taking the time to report this bug and helping to make Ubuntu better.

Could you please open a Terminal and post the output of the following commands:
  install-info --version
  type install-info

Changed in gv:
status: New → Incomplete
Scot Becker (scot-becker) wrote :

Thank *you* for following up on this. Since then I have also gotten the error while installing other packages (all GNU, I think). Here are the results of the commands:
$ install-info --version
\install-info (GNU texinfo) 4.12

Copyright (C) 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

$ type install-info
install-info is hashed (/usr/local/texlive/2008/bin/i386-linux/install-info)
Further information: as you can perhaps see, I did install TeXLive 2008, which I had to do apart from the debian dpkg tools, since (1) it's not packaged yet and (2) I hoped to make use of the TeXlive packaging system for TeX-related updates (I too am tempted by a life of ease). So I see this might not be an Ubuntu bug.

If it is outside the realm of things Ubuntu to fix this, perhaps you might point me in the direction of a solution. I had planned a blog entry on "Installing TeXLive 2008 to Ubuntu." and perhaps I can save a few others this problem.

I just checked and I do have /usr/bin/install-info, it's just that the texlive path is first in my $PATH
Here's the '--version' results for it:
$ /usr/sbin/install-info --version
Debian install-info version 1.14.20ubuntu1.

Copyright (C) 1994,1995 Ian Jackson.
This is free software; see the GNU General Public Licence version 2 or
later for copying conditions. There is NO warranty.

[does a little web searching]
Aha, it is (as you probably suspected): I have GNU's install-info in my path before debian's install-info.
I see now that this is reasonably well trodden ground:

A debian bug report (demoted to a wishlist item):

Further discussion:

Proposals to migrate to GNU install-info:

So this is not strictly a debian/Ubuntu bug, since you can't prevent pesky users from putting GNU's install-info in their path before debian's--especially if they are installing outside the dpkg system, as I was. But perhaps one could add my little battle to the (surely growing) weight of cases which might someday tip the balance toward a migration to GNU's version, which I assume would fix this 'non-bug' :-)?

And meanwhile, it's not your job at all, but I don't suppose you have an elegant idea for keeping both dpkg *and* TeXLive's installer happy with their respective install-info's? (It may be that TeXLive does fine with debian's version. I haven't tried).

Anyway, sincere thanks for following this up (it's my first bug report, and, well, it is heartening to have seen it get handled).

And meanwhile

Scot Becker (scot-becker) wrote :

scratch that last "And meanwhile.." It was due to a non-bug bug in my brain.

It seems that this is the same issue discussed in these two bug reports, fwiw:

Florian Diesch (diesch) wrote :

I'm going to mark this bug as a duplicate of bug #38538 (like #79459) to add your weight there. ;-)

To keep both dpkg and TeXLive happy I would make sure the GNU install-info is not in root's $PATH and then either use a wrapper script for the TeXLive installer that adds GNU update-info to $PATH or use an extra user that has GNU install-info in $PATH to manage TeXLive.

BTW, very good job for a first bug report :-)

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