On update-alternatives under Debian

Jurjen Bokma

July 2007

Under Debian, /etc/alternatives holds links to programs for which several alternatives are available and installed. These links can be maintained automatically or by hand. It may happen (as with sun-java6-bin from Etch-Backports) that a program creates links there, but when it is removed, the links remain and dangle. This can be remedied by finding the dangling links and running update-alternatives --auto on them, like this: find -L /etc/alternatives/ -type l -lname \*java-6-sun\* -exec basename {} \;|xargs -i update-alternatives --auto {}