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During a recent apt-get dist-upgrade of 12.10 I received the following error:

Setting up linux-headers-3.5.0-19-generic (3.5.0-19.30) ...
Examining /etc/kernel/header_postinst.d.
run-parts: executing /etc/kernel/header_postinst.d/dkms 3.5.0-19-generic /boot/vmlinuz-3.5.0-19-generic
Error! Could not locate dkms.conf file.
File:  does not exist.

Any ideas?

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I know this is a bad answer, but I always have that error, and things work fine. I guess dkms just uses default settings. –  MiJyn Dec 9 '12 at 20:28
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2 Answers

I've been getting that on kernel upgrades for a while, with the result that not all of my dkms drivers get updated on kernel-upgrades.

Firstly I was able to workaround the problem by reconfiguring any packages that used dkms to force them to be recompiled for the current kernel - eg it was my AMD video drivers that failed (package == fglrx):

sudo dpkg-reconfigure fglrx

That would at least get the drivers configured for the current version.

Finally I found this bug, which includes some steps you can use to diagnose: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/dkms/+bug/830915

dkms status
ls -R /var/lib/dkms

Basically what they're doing is looking around for anything that is surprising, or unexpected - eg packages you have uninstalled - or software you have manually installed on an earlier ubuntu version and may not work with the newer version. Particularly check the date-stamp on the directories which might show you particularly old packages could be from manually installed packages.

ls -l /var/lib/dkms

In my case I had an old version of the fglrx install I had used to diagnose some problems a year ago and had simply re-named it. Deleting this old cruft made the problem go away.

If there's junk delete it (or move it out of that directory) - if there's a manually installed package there, consider updating it, or uninstalling it and using the maintained version.

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I have had this problem with VirtualBox from Oracle's ppa, rather than the one packaged with 12.04 LTS :

Error! Could not locate dkms.conf file.
File:  does not exist.

I copied the contents of /var/lib/dkms to another directory as a backup, then removed the vboxhost directory in /var/lib/dkms;

mkdir ~/backup_dkms
cp -r /var/lib/dkms/* ~/backup_dkms 
rm -rf /var/lib/dkms/vboxhost

I then reconfigured the virtualbox package like this:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure virtualbox-4.2

and it succeeded in doing this:

   * Trying to register the VirtualBox kernel modules using DKMS
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Just sudo dpkg-reconfigure virtualbox-4.2 did the job. Thank you –  Sergey Jan 6 at 6:11
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