"Exec format error" bugs

Florian Diesch diesch at spamfence.net
Mon Jan 18 14:26:57 GMT 2010

Reinhard Tartler <siretart at ubuntu.com> writes:

> another pattern of bugs I've encountered end with "Exec format
> errors". Normally I would expect that if someone tried to execute and
> amd64 binary on a i386 system. However, this does not seem to be the
> case e.g. in this bug:
> https://bugs.edge.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/dirac/+bug/482413
> Moreover, googling shows that this is not a that uncommon problem (about
> 1670 hits for me):
> http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=dpkg+"Exec+format+error"
> I wonder where this is caused from. A possible explanation would be that
> the download was corrupted in some way. However apt is supposed to
> cryptographically verify the integrity of downloaded archive, so either
> there is some serious problem with apt here, or there must be some other
> explanation for this pattern.

I've seen a few cases where this was caused by the post-install script
being an empty file, maybe caused by I/O errors during install

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