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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.

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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

2 Answers 2

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.

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The following command should resolve your problem:

sudo dpkg --clear-avail
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