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In the "Debian Policy Manual", under Chapter 7 there is a section titled "7.3 Packages which break other packages - Breaks". In that section is says (in part):

When one binary package declares that it breaks another, dpkg will refuse to allow the package which declares Breaks to be unpacked unless the broken package is deconfigured first, and it will refuse to allow the broken package to be reconfigured.

How do you "deconfigure" an installed Debian package?

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That means to un-install the offending package.

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Why didn't they just say "uninstall", then? – user35042 Nov 15 '12 at 18:31
@user35042 Take that up with the Debian project. – voretaq7 Nov 15 '12 at 19:31

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