I have trouble in installing or removing the partly installed mysql-server-5.6 in ubuntu15.04. The error I am getting was

$ sudo apt-get -f install 
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
The following packages will be upgraded:
1 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
22 not fully installed or removed.
Need to get 0 B/5,501 kB of archives.
After this operation, 50.8 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] 
Preconfiguring packages ...
Setting up mysql-common (5.6.24-0ubuntu2) ...
update-alternatives: error: alternative path                 /etc/mysql/my.cnf.fallback doesn't exist
dpkg: error processing package mysql-common (--configure):
 subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 2
Errors were encountered while processing:
localepurge: Disk space freed in /usr/share/locale: 0 KiB
localepurge: Disk space freed in /usr/share/man: 0 KiB
localepurge: Disk space freed in /usr/share/gnome/help: 0 KiB
localepurge: Disk space freed in /usr/share/omf: 0 KiB
localepurge: Disk space freed in /usr/share/doc/kde/HTML: 0 KiB

Total disk space freed by localepurge: 0 KiB

E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

Can someone help me on this?

  • Better can remove and hopefully a clean re-install would be fine i think. – vembutech Jul 1 '15 at 18:06
  • I tried this process still i have the problem, ie i am ubable to uninstall or reinstall mysql server – Shameerariff Jul 2 '15 at 5:24
  • 1
    I tried my level best to find out the cause for the issue. I removed the data from the apt status file and updated the apt, where I noticed the system is experiencing the problem with libgcc1 libc6. I am trying to solve the problem Will keep post the status based on my findings. – Shameerariff Jul 2 '15 at 6:03

Try doing a purge, then re-install.

sudo apt-get remove --purge mysql-\*
sudo apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client

Update 04.09.2018:
If you have issues uninstalling/installing because MySQL process is live, you can try this first, then above:
sudo kill $(pgrep mysql)

  • I tried this process still i have the problem, ie i am ubable to uninstall or reinstall mysql server – Shameerariff Jul 2 '15 at 5:23
  • The original instructions removed the metapackage, which was a no-op. The new edited instructions work with 16.04. – mrm Jul 24 '16 at 16:33
  • Worked for me on elementary OS. – MChaker Dec 18 '16 at 7:41
  • 2
    This worked for me only after I checked ps -aef | grep mysql and sent a kill signal to all varieties of running mysqld. – Charney Kaye Jan 11 '17 at 20:10

A very simple solution which I (the linux noob) had to dig up... is to create the file.

nano /etc/mysql/my.cnf.fallback

and fill it with the default content from the mysql-common 5.7.11-0ubuntu6 package.

# The MySQL database server configuration file.
# You can copy this to one of:
# - "/etc/mysql/my.cnf" to set global options,
# - "~/.my.cnf" to set user-specific options.
# One can use all long options that the program supports.
# Run program with --help to get a list of available options and with
# --print-defaults to see which it would actually understand and use.
# For explanations see
# http://dev.mysql.com/doc/mysql/en/server-system-variables.html

# This will be passed to all mysql clients
# It has been reported that passwords should be enclosed with ticks/quotes
# escpecially if they contain "#" chars...
# Remember to edit /etc/mysql/debian.cnf when changing the socket location.

# Here is entries for some specific programs
# The following values assume you have at least 32M ram

!includedir /etc/mysql/conf.d/

found here at apt-browse.org

  • This is a better answer than the accpeted one because it fixes the actual problem without having to use the brute force approach. – devius Jan 30 '18 at 19:04
  • In my case touch /etc/mysql/my.cnf.fallback got me past the issue. – oalders Sep 21 '18 at 1:59

Purge/Reinstall also did not work for me. I found the following "solution":

I could not find mysql.cnf.fallback listed in the "provided files" for mysql-server-5.6 / mysql-client-5.6 nor any additional info about the file.

I copied /etc/mysql/my.cnf to /etc/mysql/my.cnf.fallback (guessing that this would have been a relatively less important "fallback" config file);

/etc/mysql/my.cnf is a symlink, so ls /etc/mysql now shows:

 my.cnf.fallback -> /etc/alternatives/my.cnf
 my.cnf -> /etc/alternatives/my.cnf

The installation of the package then completed without error (since presumably the "doesn't exist" issue was "solved").

I have not come across any adverse effects (yet).

  • This sounds great but can you explain the reason for the problem, It would be beneficial for others. – Shameerariff Aug 28 '15 at 4:05

I had the same problem while trying to purge mysql-server (5.7.14).

In case that the my.cnf* files are missing, you can re-install the package mysql-common, and afterwards, you can purge both (mysql-server & mysql-common)

These my.cnf* files belong to mysql-common package (see bellow):

$ dpkg -L mysql-common | grep cnf

1. Re-install mysql-common

apt-get install --reinstall mysql-common

  1. Purge mysql-common

apt-get purge mysql-common


I checked my /etc/mysql/ folder and found it to be completely empty other than an empty sub-folder conf.d.

cd /etc/
# you need to delete the empty mysql folder otherwise the ln below creates the link inside the existing mysql folder
sudo rm -r mysql
sudo ln -s ./mysql.bak/ mysql

then (courtesy of this link this link)

sudo dpkg --configure -a

and now all appears okay.

The link above also mentions --force-depends but I did not need this. It also mentions apt-get -f install but again I did not need this.

  • This was exactly my problem. This fixed it for me. – Dave Kincaid Oct 7 '16 at 12:15

As noted by charneykaye in the comments, this approach can fail if there's some mysql processes in the background. I used:

emil-mint-desktop ~ # ps -aef | grep mysql
root      6682     1  0 16:45 ?        00:00:00 sudo mysqld_safe --skip-grant-tables
root      6683  6682  0 16:45 ?        00:00:00 /bin/sh /usr/bin/mysqld_safe --skip-grant-tables
mysql     7046  6683  0 16:45 ?        00:00:01 /usr/sbin/mysqld --basedir=/usr --datadir=/var/lib/mysql --plugin-dir=/usr/lib/mysql/plugin --user=mysql --skip-grant-tables --log-error=/var/log/mysql/error.log --pid-file=/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.pid --socket=/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock --port=3306 --log-syslog=1 --log-syslog-facility=daemon --log-syslog-tag=
root     21046  9812  0 17:32 pts/5    00:00:00 grep --color=auto mysql

Killed the first 3 processes (the last one is the grep call itself!) using:

kill -9 6682 8883 7046

Then remove everything mysql related:

apt remove --purge mysql-\*
apt autoremove
apt autoclean

and then install:

apt install mysql-server

Then it worked.


  • Mint 18.1 (based on Ubuntu). You will need to substitute apt for apt-get for some other versions.

I found an easy solution for that:

First step: apt-get install mysql-common --reinstall

Second step: apt-get install mysql-server --reinstall

And it works!


After trying all the answers above I was able to fix this problem with:

sudo rm /etc/rc5.d/S03mysql

Then was able to run:

sudo apt purge mysql-server mysql-server-5.7 mysql-server-core-5.7

sudo apt-get -f install mysql-server --fix-missing --fix-broken

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