Could not perform immediate configuration on ‘default-jre’

Recently I decided to move a Linux VM I have for running some servers to a recently replaced box that used to be my gaming rig.  I decided to run Debian Squeeze (Stable) since, well, it’s stable.

After a week or so though I started thinking that it would be nice to have some newer packages, particularly Python 2.7 since I’ve been doing a bunch of programming in Python recently.  Some quick research showed that while it would be technically possible to have Python 2.6 and 2.7 side-by-side, it would probably be a bad idea.

So I decided to do what any self-respecting geek would do and upgrade from Stable to Testing.

The process is designed to be pretty simple.  Update /etc/apt/sources.list by replacing Squeeze/Stable with Wheezy/Testing then run:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get dist-upgrade

The first two steps which upgrade the local list of packages/versions and then do the “safe” dependency-less upgrades went off without a hitch.  I rebooted not out of necessity but because if something went wrong it’d be easier to fix with only a handful of updates than all of them.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I was able to SSH back into the machine which saved me having to get up and walk to the machine in the next room!

The dist-upgrade didn’t go over quite as well.  Unfortunately I wasn’t writing this as I was working so I don’t have the exact console readouts but I will do my best to re-assemble them based on my search history.

E: Could not perform immediate configuration on 'default-jre'.
    Please see man 5 apt.conf under APT::Immediate-Configure
    for details. (2)

Uh oh.

My searches turned up a bunch of threads with possible solutions, archived here for your benefit since if you’re reading this beyond the next two days you’re probably not one of my friends or family and are actually having this problem and searching for a solution.

None of what I tried in there worked for me.  I hadn’t tried turning Immediate-Configure off and running the full dist-upgrade but that sounds like a really bad idea and is just asking for trouble.  I ended up going into /var/cache/apt/archives/ and tried to manually dpkg -i a few of the packages and manually follow the dependencies figuring I could outsmart apt-get.

As it turns out, I can’t.

After I completely hosed my packages to the point that apt-get -f install couldn’t fix things, I decided to just start deleting packages because at this point I was going to have to spend my Saturday reinstalling this machine from scratch. I removed OpenOffice because I didn’t care to have it anyway and since that was what was pulling in Java, that went away as well with the autoremove. After that, I was actually in a good enough state to do the dist-upgrade successfully and then I was able to re-install the removed packages!

aptitude purge
apt-get install
apt-get autoremove
apt-get dist-upgrade
aptitude install openoffice-org-common


Testing upgraded from the 2.x version of the Linux kernel to 3.x so I decided to reboot to switch over and I also wanted to make sure the machine still rebooted.  So I kicked off the reboot and took a YouTube victory break.

To be continued…


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26 Responses to Could not perform immediate configuration on ‘default-jre’

  1. Pingback: Grub error: symbol not found: 'grub_divmod64_full'Paul's Thoughts

  2. AsianBorat says:

    I went through that same exact process (even down to finding the same threads, and concluding that turning Immediate-Configure off is a bad idea). Fortunately, your solution worked. Thank you very much!

  3. Wolfer says:

    I had the same error. This post helped.
    Thanks for the clean solution!

  4. Martin Enders says:


    Thank you for this tip – worked at my computer too.


  5. Eddy says:

    Hi paul,

    Thanks a lot for your simple but super solution!

    You saved my day!


  6. glo says:

    Thanks! Helped me as well : )

  7. msmith0957 says:

    Had the same error while trying to upgrade from squeeze to wheezy. Getting rid of open office as suggested turned out to work! Thanks so much for the post.

  8. Vigneshwar says:

    Nice solution and I like Debian in Linux Distro…

  9. Worrab says:

    I’m afraid it didn’t work for me. Apt decided it needed to remove apt.

  10. Worrab says:

    OK – Always read carefully! As stated, use aptitude to purge and install open-office and all will be well. Thank you.

  11. Gaa says:

    Works like a charm!

    Cheers and beers mate!

  12. fegue says:

    Wonderfull! Didnt think that a problem likje this can be solved by uninstalling Openoffice…. Worked like a charm!

  13. JCSiv says:

    Thanks a lot, this worked great for me. I had the same problem as you, and I was trying to install newer software, including python and I was going to try out Gnome 3, despite all of the bad reviews it is getting. At least Gnome 3 isn’t as controversial as Ubuntu Unity, which included adverts in the dash which link to websites such as amazon, with everything from pens to music, I’m glad I ditched Ubuntu, and was using Linux Mint 14 ‘Nadia’ at the time, and had installed Gnome 3, albeit a bit buggy, and with GDM came a ‘hidden’ ubuntu session, it doesn’t exist in MDM (mint display manager), anyway, I tried it out and was absolutely horrified to see what Canonical calls ‘Suggestions’ when searching apps etc. in the dash! That reminds me, debian Sid can’t be that unstable, since Ubuntu is based on Sid. Thanks again for this great solution (and sorry for the rant!)

  14. bison says:

    thank you SO MUCH for saving my day 🙂

  15. Maciej says:

    Thank you very much, your solution worked for me too, although I had to separately remove (it didn’t want to go).
    Could you please explain in more detail how did you find that it is precisely
    that creates the problems?

    Thank you again,

  16. Nelson says:

    Thanks so much for the explanation! Absolutely useful 😀

  17. Zach says:

    I just ran into this exact problem and found that “apt-get remove gcj-jre” resolved this problem for me. I got that idea from the comments in this bug report

    Thanks for the breadcrumbs to that bug report.

    The bug report was resolved and archived but the problem still exists in wheezy packages because it happened to me today upgrading from a well-used squeeze to wheezy.

  18. Tributory says:

    Thank you!

  19. Identical says:

    Thanks again for that! Just running that code block fixed the problem completely!

  20. anonymous_debian_user says:

    thank you! 🙂

  21. pinsa says:

    thank you very much.

  22. Libby says:

    Thanks for posting! I saw the same error upgrading from Squeeze to Wheezy (late, I know), and this worked for me.

  23. joe says:

    Thanks, worked for me too.

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