When I run software update I get

  package operation failed

The updates downloaded ok.

The error window disappeared so fast, I could not write down errors.

I ran sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

  Errors were encountered while processing:
  E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

While following the answer below I got:

Unpacking apt (1.6.6ubuntu0.1) over (1.6.6) ... 
dpkg: error processing archive /var/cache/apt/archives/apt_1.6.6ubuntu0.1_amd64.deb (--unpack): 
unable to make backup link of './lib/systemd/system/apt-daily.timer' 
before installing new version: Operation not permitted dpkg-deb: 
error: paste subprocess was killed by signal (Broken pipe)

Months ago I added the immutable attribute to apt-daily.timer.

For some reason, software updater decided it did not like that.

After removing the attribute, software updater now works. ?

| improve this answer | |
  • Next time consider to disable these timers or mask them. File-system hacks are dangerous (as you have seen) :) – N0rbert Jan 30 '19 at 8:56
  • I don't see what I did as dangerous per se. I only did it because sometimes my customized apt.daily.timer is overwritten. It is just part of the learning process. I have a script that copies that version on each boot up. I keep a file of most changes I make just in case problems develop. :-) – fixit7 Jan 30 '19 at 14:44

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