Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Any time I try to install software or updates, I get the following message (or a slight variation):

dpkg: error:
parsing file '/var/lib/dpkg/available'
near line 10650 package 'libreoffige-writev':
field name `Replaces>' must be followed by colon

I have no idea what it means, but it always insists that `Replaces>' be followed by a colon.

share|improve this question
Please share the content or output of the following commands/files to better help us troubleshoot your problem (instructions in this answer): /var/lib/dpkg/available – izx Jun 30 '12 at 1:28
bash: /var/lib/dpkg/available: Permission denied sudo: /var/lib/dpkg/available: command not found – Louis Jun 30 '12 at 4:44

The following command should resolve your problem:

sudo dpkg --clear-avail
share|improve this answer

I had a similar problem while trying to build a package:

$ dpkg --build ./mypackagefolder/
dpkg-deb: error: parsing file './mypackagefolder//DEBIAN/control' near line 13 package 'mypackage':
 field name `Bone' must be followed by colon

Turns out this happens if you have a line feed in the Description field of the DEBIAN/control file. The offending "field name" is then the first word on the new line. The fix is to make sure the Description is not force-wrapped. To write a multi-line Description, separate the one-line paragraphs with ' .' and make sure each one-line paragraph starts with a blank.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.