Warning for intrepid users: a package shows in apt-cache search or apt-get install, but not in synaptic search?

Paul Johnson pauljohn32 at gmail.com
Mon Nov 17 22:45:32 UTC 2008

Word to the wise:

Something's wrong in Synaptic Search and it can be frustrating to realize it.

Here's why I say that.

I have a clean install of Ubuntu 8.10 on a Lenovo T61 laptop.  The
install was surprisingly smooth, most devices worked out of the box.
Even the fingerprint scanner was easy to set up, after installing some

I've noticed a weird mis-match between packages I can access through
apt-get and synaptic.  After adding repositories and running apt-get
update, I can list and install things through apt-cache and apt-get,
but those same packages do not show in synaptic's search output.

Here's an example.  I want to run the avant-window-navigator test
versions from launchpad.  Here is the sources.list.d  file I use:

sources.list.d$ cat awn-extras
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/awn-testing/ubuntu intrepid main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/awn-testing/ubuntu intrepid main

In synaptic, I do not see the avant related packages from that test
trunk.  But in output from apt-cache, I see

awn-extras-applets-trunk 0.3.1
avant-window-navigator-trunk 0.3.1

"apt-get install avant-window-navigator-trunk
awn-extras-applets-trunk" does succeed.

I've banged my head on this a lot, and then I noticed a quirk.
Nothing shows in the synaptic "quick search" output, but if you just
list all packages, the avant-window-navigator-trunk is there.  So
realized this is not a synaptic problem, per se, rather it is a
synaptic search problem, and it turns out this is a known bug.


I have confirmed that this workaround does fix it: "sudo

Reading that bug report, I don't understand why this workaround helps,
and everybody seems to agree it should not be necessary.


Paul E. Johnson
Professor, Political Science
1541 Lilac Lane, Room 504
University of Kansas

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