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I've seen the following line once or twice while installing packages on Ubuntu:

Depends: <package> but it is not going to be installed

I've seen people suggest various commands to run to fix such issues, but I would like a greater understanding of what actually goes on in package management, how something can go wrong like this, and what those "fixing" commands actually do.

Is there a server administration reference manual that I can read to learn these things? I don't mind buying books.

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The package management system is from Debian. It is not necessary to buy anything to learn about APT because it is documented on the Web and within the distribution.

Look at references from the Ubuntu Server Guide, Chapter 3. You will find a link to the APT HOWTO. Drill through that and you will be better equipped to tackle the manual page (not obsolete) of apt-get (type man apt-get in a terminal).

Manual pages may seem daunting at first, but once a user is familiar with the different sections, they will often find the man page of a particular program is the best source of information.

In general though, look at the Ubuntu wiki pagess first. Chances are most of what you need to know is on there.

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Thanks for the link to the Ubuntu Server Guide and HOWTO! It's exactly what I was looking for. –  Gustav Bertram Feb 19 '13 at 7:58

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