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I was fooling around trying to fix this problem, and I removed some important packages. When I realized that it was cleaning out more things that I had intended, I just rebooted, rather than try to find the forked process and stop it. Now I can see in aptitude that I have several broken packages, which do NOT show up in synaptic. Rather than try to install the missing packages (e.g., Python, YIKES!), the "resolution" is to remove 354 packages that are still installed which depend on what's missing. Is there a command to go through all the installed packages, and make sure that all of their dependencies are also installed? If I could just get a list, that would be useful, but, clearly, a command to just "do it" and install them would be better.

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I would try to install ubuntu-desktop that should bring with it almost all you need. Also apt-get install -f should try to resolve dependencies problems. –  enzotib Jul 27 '11 at 13:43
    
ubuntu-desktop is already installed, so that doesn't do anything. I've seen apt-get install -f in several other places, but that doesn't do anything for me either. I actually DID GET IT FIXED (apparently) by just reinstalling python-doc. That made aptitude stop reporting any broken packages. However, I want to leave the question open for the general solution. –  David Krider Jul 27 '11 at 13:56

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Other than the installation and/or apt-get -f install suggestions mentioned in comments, you can tell aptitude to find a different resolution by using the , and . keys to navigate through the list of available resolutions in the examine view (entered with e). Sometimes the first suggested resolution involves uninstalling packages, whereas the next few will involve upgrade/downgrade/re-install operations.

In addition, you can "accept" or "reject" proposals regarding individual packages by selecting them in the list at the top and using a or r keys respectively. This will force aptitude to find solutions that respect your requirements (although if you specify too many it may fail to find a resolution altogether).

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