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[Launchpad-users] If you get "Failed to fetch" errors for PPAs ...


Error when updating your PPA apt indexes: here's how to fix it

You may start getting "Failed to fetch" error messages when updating
your software sources (e.g. through "apt-get update" or "Reload package 
information" in Synaptic), which may be due to a bug we've just cleaned
up in Launchpad's PPAs.

The error looks like this:

  W: Failed to fetch
  Unable to find expected entry  restricted/binary-i386/Packages in 
  Meta-index file (malformed Release file?)

  E: Some index files failed to download, they have been ignored, or old 
  ones used instead.

Fixing the cause of the error

Here's how to fix it. In your terminal, type:

 sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

In the editor, look for PPA sources -- these are URLs that feature the domain.  In this example, someone has set up the
~ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates PPA incorrectly:

 deb maverick main
 deb maverick
 deb maverick
 deb maverick

All of these refer to different components within the same PPA. You only
need the first for PPAs, so you should delete lines for PPAs that don't end
in "main". Watch out for lines that wrap, as with the "restricted",
"universe" and "multiverse" examples above.

You may also need to check source lists under the /etc/apt/sources.list.d

Note: you should leave your standard Ubuntu sources, and any non-PPA
sources, just as they are.

If you're not sure how to do this, pop into #launchpad on Freenode and one
of the Launchpad community will help.

Why this has happened

The Debian-style archives used by Ubuntu are often divided into different
components. With Ubuntu, you've probably heard of at least "main" and

PPAs don't use these components. However, a bug in Launchpad meant that,
until December, PPAs were published with a number of different components.
All of these components were empty and there was no way to publish anything
to them.

Today, we started to remove these empty components from PPAs. The only
impact we anticipate is that anyone whose sources.list referenced these
components in a PPA will now see an error when performing an
"apt-get update" or similar.

No packages are being deleted and anyone with a correctly defined
sources.list will be able to carry on just as before.

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(Formatted by MHonArc.)