“HPLIP In Statoverride” Fix For Ubuntu (And Related)

…and Happy New Year.

A quick remedy to an annoyance that may or may not appear on its own. I have, for the most part, thoroughly enjoyed using Ubuntu for one of the computer clusters (and am pleased at how well I’m getting along without a desktop environment). In recent efforts to install abinit with apt-get (as a refresher to begin to attempt a reproduction of the phenomenal density functional perturbation theory calculations performed by Hooper et al in Chemical Physics Letters), I came across the following error that applied generally to various other attempts at other installs by apt-get.

name@machine:~$> sudo apt-get install program
dpkg: syntax error: unknown user `hplip' in statoverride file
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (2)

hplip being the HP Linux Imaging and Printing software (and associated drivers).

An HP problem and I don’t even own a printer.

I’ve not found much on the solution to the problem in Ubuntu googling, but am fortunate that the problem was reported a few years back on a Debian listserve.

The problem lies with a single line of the /var/lib/dpkg/statoverride that is easily remedied by a line removal.

From the contents of statoverride (yours may appear different)…

root postdrop 02555 /usr/sbin/postqueue
hplip root 755 /var/run/hplip
root mlocate 2755 /usr/bin/mlocate
postfix postdrop 02710 /var/spool/postfix/public
root postdrop 02555 /usr/sbin/postdrop

... simply make a backup copy (there is a statoverride-old in the directory, but why take chances?), pico/nano/whatever editor/…

sudo cp /var/lib/dpkg/statoverride /var/lib/dpkg/statoverride_original
sudo pico /var/lib/dpkg/statoverride

…and delete the line containing hplip.

Save and apt-get to your drive’s capacity.  I am assuming that no permanent damage is incurred on the system by removing this line (that “lack of a printer” thing again).  If this page helped you and then something began to smoke, do let me know.