package-data-downloader crashed with ValueError in command(): invalid literal for int() with base 10: ''

Bug #983571 reported by Le Minh Duc on 2012-04-17
This bug affects 50 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
update-notifier (Ubuntu)
Michael Vogt

Bug Description

I have no idea about it

ProblemType: Crash
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 12.04
Package: update-notifier-common 0.119ubuntu7
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.2.0-23.36-generic-pae 3.2.14
Uname: Linux 3.2.0-23-generic-pae i686
ApportVersion: 2.0.1-0ubuntu3
Architecture: i386
Date: Tue Apr 17 07:33:16 2012
ExecutablePath: /usr/lib/update-notifier/package-data-downloader
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" - Beta i386 (20120328)
InterpreterPath: /usr/bin/python2.7
PackageArchitecture: all
ProcCmdline: /usr/bin/python /usr/lib/update-notifier/package-data-downloader
 PATH=(custom, no user)
PythonArgs: ['/usr/lib/update-notifier/package-data-downloader']
SourcePackage: update-notifier
Title: package-data-downloader crashed with ValueError in command(): invalid literal for int() with base 10: ''
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Le Minh Duc (ducleminh-91) wrote :
tags: removed: need-duplicate-check
Steve Langasek (vorlon) on 2012-04-20
visibility: private → public
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in update-notifier (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Benjamin (nailartcenter) wrote :

Occured while I had open Synaptic and in the moment while deinstall complete any configs of the last removed packages.

Rada (ldrada) wrote :

I upgraded 11.10 to 12.04 and now I get this error, my computer crashed halfway and I had to do "sudo dpkg --configure -a" to fix it. I have no idea how this affects me.

The same thing happened to me. Upgraded, crashed halfway, "sudo dpkg --configure -a".

Michael Heyns (mike-bean-heyns) wrote :

Happens to me when installing dependencies for tv-maxe (ppa:venerix/blug) on 12.04. Replicated on desktop and laptop. Not sure if it's related.

Bob Filipiak (bfilipiak) wrote :

Include me as someone who has been hit by this.

Changed in update-notifier (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Hey Michael, that bug is one of the most reported ones on, could you have a look to it?

Changed in update-notifier (Ubuntu):
importance: Medium → High
assignee: nobody → Michael Vogt (mvo)
TJ (tj) wrote :

I've been doing some analysis of this bug. It's difficult to follow for a debconf outsider since it encompasses Python and PERL modules and inter-process pipes and so on, but from the reading the source-code and looking at our tracebacks it seems that the debconf "version" command is returning an empty string:

  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/", line 81, in command
    status = int(status)
ValueError: invalid literal for int() with base 10: ''

The '' at the end of the ValueError line indicates that

status = ''

It is set in one of two ways based reading the inter-process pipe to debconf-communicate (/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/

        if ' ' in resp:
            status, data = resp.split(' ', 1)
            status, data = resp, ''

This gives two possibilities for the contents of the 'resp' list returned from debconf-communicate:

1. a single space
2. an empy string

After reading the Python 2.7 documentation for the subprocess module I suspect this warning might give us some insight into the cause of this bug:

"Warning: Use communicate() rather than .stdin.write, or to avoid deadlocks due to any of the other OS pipe buffers filling up and blocking the child process."


TJ (tj) wrote :

I'm attaching a patch I've installed locally that might capture useful information about the process. As it doesn't seem to be predictable I shall leave the patch in place until (hopefully) the next time the bug strikes.

The attachment "Debugging patch for debconf" of this bug report has been identified as being a patch. The ubuntu-reviewers team has been subscribed to the bug report so that they can review the patch. In the event that this is in fact not a patch you can resolve this situation by removing the tag 'patch' from the bug report and editing the attachment so that it is not flagged as a patch. Additionally, if you are member of the ubuntu-reviewers team please also unsubscribe the team from this bug report.

[This is an automated message performed by a Launchpad user owned by Brian Murray. Please contact him regarding any issues with the action taken in this bug report.]

tags: added: patch
Colin Watson (cjwatson) wrote :

This error from generally means that the backend process died unexpectedly. If you can manage to reproduce it, I suggest running with DEBCONF_DEBUG=developer set in the environment to get a better trace.

Colin Watson (cjwatson) wrote :

Also, this isn't a deadlock, so I think you're on the wrong track with that bit of the subprocess documentation. If it were a deadlock, the process would hang, not raise an exception.

Brian Murray (brian-murray) wrote :

As the patch attachment attached to this bug is for debugging and doesn't resolve the issue I am going to unflag the patch attachment and unsubscribe the Ubuntu patch reviewers team.

tags: added: bot-stop-nagging
Vincent Gerris (vgerris) wrote :

Happens to me on 14.04 LTS with todays updates for 64 bit on Lenovo Yoga 11 2.

Kris Urva (ruff-ryder) on 2015-11-06
no longer affects: update-notifier (Unity Linux)
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