BASH if statements: ‘too many arguments’ error

Posted by Christian Ashby on April 28, 2010

If you are writing a BASH script which searches for a file pattern in a folder using this syntax:

[-f {pattern}]

Instead, use the following syntax:

files=$(ls {pattern} 2> /dev/null | wc -l)
if [ "$files" != "0" ]

This can be replaced with a similar command using find if required.


Debian: apt-get interrupted, leaves files in bad state

Posted by Christian Ashby on April 19, 2010

For those using Debian or Ubuntu Linux, there are situations where the package management system can leave files open if a certain package fails, or if you cancel the installation using CTRL+C, you may see the following error when you try another package installation:

debconf: DbDriver "config": /var/cache/debconf/config.dat is locked by another process: Resource temporarily unavailable

Using the following command will tell you what’s using it:

fuser -v /var/cache/debconf/config.dat

This will give you the process ID in the right-hand column. You can then use kill {process ID} to remove this process and re run your apt-get command.