In the Software Center I searched for VirtualBox, found it and hit "Install". The installation ended with a Pop-up reading

Package operation failed

The installation or removal of a software package failed

and in the details section

installArchives() failed: fatal: $HOME not set
[master e1552a4] saving uncommitted changes in /etc prior to apt run
 1 file changed, 4 insertions(+)
(Reading database ... 
(Reading database ... 5%
(Reading database ... 10%
(Reading database ... 15%
(Reading database ... 20%
(Reading database ... 25%
(Reading database ... 30%
(Reading database ... 35%
(Reading database ... 40%
(Reading database ... 45%
(Reading database ... 50%
(Reading database ... 55%
(Reading database ... 60%
(Reading database ... 65%
(Reading database ... 70%
(Reading database ... 75%
(Reading database ... 80%
(Reading database ... 85%
(Reading database ... 90%
(Reading database ... 95%
(Reading database ... 100%
(Reading database ... 793534 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing virtualbox-qt (4.3.10-dfsg-1ubuntu5) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ( ...
Processing triggers for hicolor-icon-theme (0.13-1) ...
Processing triggers for mime-support (3.54ubuntu1.1) ...
Processing triggers for bamfdaemon (0.5.1+14.04.20140409-0ubuntu1) ...
Rebuilding /usr/share/applications/bamf-2.index...
Processing triggers for desktop-file-utils (0.22-1ubuntu1) ...
Processing triggers for gnome-menus (3.10.1-0ubuntu2) ...
Processing triggers for shared-mime-info (1.2-0ubuntu3) ...

*** Please tell me who you are.


Apart from this message it looks like the installation was successful, but this message unsettles me. The same happens when I remove it again through the Software Center.

After removing it through the Software Center I installed it from the command line without any errors or warnings using

sudo apt-get install virtualbox

The following line from the output of the Software Center is caused by etckeeper which leads me to think that etckeeper disrupts the installation and removal:

[master e1552a4] saving uncommitted changes in /etc prior to apt run
 1 file changed, 4 insertions(+)

If this is true, what can I do to make etckeeper play well with the Software Center? If not, what else causes this issue?


There are two errors shown in your details section log. The first one at the very top ("fatal: $HOME not set") is due to git not knowing your $HOME directory after privilege escalation, and prior to the commit (before the VirtualBox install). This can be fixed by adding the following near the top of the file /etc/etckeeper/pre-install.d/50uncommitted-changes:

if [ "$HOME" = "" ]; then
    export HOME="/root"

You may want to commit this change with:

cd /etc
sudo git add etckeeper/pre-install.d/50uncommitted-changes
sudo git commit -m "Set $HOME if it is blank"

The second error ("*** Please tell me who you are..."), near the bottom, is also caused by git, and can be fixed by setting the user name and email for the /etc/ repo owner:

cd /etc
sudo git config user.name "Your Name"
sudo git config user.email "your@email.com"

I had seen the same issues with my daily updates (on Ubuntu 14.04), however, they stopped showing up after I made these changes.

Hope this helps.

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