I finally fixed the GPGME error that was preventing updates!

Here’s how I fixed the stupid GPGME error.

For starters, here’s the [Manjaro Wiki article] (Pacman troubleshooting - Manjaro) that helped me. (thanks Napcok!)

  1. I deviated slightly from the article. Using sudo pacman -U <file> didn’t work, kept getting a 404. I downloaded each of the keyring files manually. You’ll need to get them from a mirror. The files are:
    • manjaro-keyring
    • archlinux-keyring
    • mabox-keyring
  2. Remove faulty package databases
    • sudo rm -f /var/lib/pacman/sync/*
  3. Remove GPG databases
    • sudo rm -R /var/lib/pacman/sync
  4. Use pacman to add the keyrings manually
    • sudo pacman -U /path/to/file/manjaro-keyring-yyyymmdd.any.pkg.tar.xz
    • sudo pacman -U /path/to/file/mabox-keyring-yyyymmdd.any.pkg.tar.xz
    • sudo pacman -U /path/to/file/archlinux-keyring-yyyymmdd.any.pkg.tar.xz
  5. Download databases and update the system
    • sudo pacman -Syyu

This is what worked for me. I wrote this little Markdown file and filed it away on my littke wiki I keep for my homelab.

For what it’s worth, I believe the cause of my repeated problems was simple neglect. I do not use my Linux laptop every single day. My usual daily Linux experience is with my two Raspberry Pi machines that run DietPi, a stripped down, lean version of Debian Buster. I do not even have a GUI installed since all of my interaction is from an SSH session. So it can be a couple of weeks before I even boot up this laptop. And, each time I have had the GPGME error, it’s been after a period of non-use.

I believe I need to make it a point to watch closely for updates more often so my keyring files remain fresh. Stale keys are no bueno.

There was a lot of trial and error before I finally fixed this. I’ve been wrestling with it since March. Several reinstalls. Lots of hair pulling, and some not-nice conversations with support people.

Thanks to Daniel for all his help in Discord, on Reddit, and in his various forum posts. I found the Manjaro Wiki article I used on the Mabox forums. I simply cannot say anything bad about Mabox. It has the soul of Crunchbang, even though there are other distros that are billed as its replacement.

Using Mabox, I am now, very slowly, learning the Arch Way to do things. My only suggestion is a version of Mabox that will work with an arm kernel so I can set up my Raspberry Pi boxes!

I spoke too soon.

I was ready to chuck this laptop out a window and destroy all my Mabox .ISOs off of my thumb drive. Despite how much I do love the Mabox experience, I had reached my peak of frustration with this issue.

But I decided it was worth doing one more Google search. This time I cast a wider net, not just Manjaro but all of the Arch ecosphere. What I found surprised me.

This laptop’s only job is to keep me entertained at my dialysis clinic. That’s it. I never use this machine at home except maybe to watch a video while I am in bed. I do my computer stuff on my desktop PC. It runs Windows 11, but I also run a VM of Mabox on my main PC.

The post I discovered on the Arch Linux forums said this:

If there is a captive redirect on the internet, such as when using public wifi or when the modem detects that broadband isn’t available, all HTTP requests get redirected to some HTML page, typically showing an error or letting you log into their public wifi or something.

Captive portal. Public Internet. Like at my dialysis clinic!

In my case, when I checked my /var/lib/pacman/sync/maboxlinux.db file, instead of the usual database-looking jumble, the file was filled with the HTML from the captive portal login.

This explains why this happened over and over on the laptop I take to the clinic and never happened on my desktop at home.

So the lesson here, don’t try to update or install anything while I am at the clinic. Do this only on my home network.

I just wish I had found this little gem sooner. It also suggests that if I specify an https mirror in my settings that this would not happen. I’ll edit my mirrorlist and try my luck.

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