I have a database with a unique constraint in a field that is apparently being ignored. That table also includes two rows with the same value for that field, but somehow querying by that value only returns one row.

koji=> select id, name, encode(name::bytea, 'hex') FROM package where id in (7694, 8429);
  id  |            name             |                         encode                         
 7694 | python-collectd_certificate | 707974686f6e2d636f6c6c656374645f6365727469666963617465
 8429 | python-collectd_certificate | 707974686f6e2d636f6c6c656374645f6365727469666963617465
(2 rows)

koji=> select * from package where name='python-collectd_certificate';
  id  |            name             
 8429 | python-collectd_certificate
(1 row)

koji=> \d+ package
                                                Table "public.package"
 Column |  Type   | Collation | Nullable |               Default               | Storage  | Stats target | Description 
 id     | integer |           | not null | nextval('package_id_seq'::regclass) | plain    |              | 
 name   | text    |           | not null |                                     | extended |              | 
    "package_pkey" PRIMARY KEY, btree (id)
    "package_name_key" UNIQUE CONSTRAINT, btree (name)
Referenced by:

I'm totally confused, what on earth is going on here? How is this even possible? Is this DB totally corrupted now?

  • Are they the same though? What does select distinct name from package where name like 'python%certificate' ; tell you?
    – gsiems
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


That's a clear case of data corruption. Your index is broken, perhaps because you updated the C library. You will have to manually remove the duplicates, for example with

DELETE FROM package WHERE id = 7694;

Once all duplicates are removed,

  • You're probably right, but this is just ASCII text, so it couldn't have been any sort of ordering change? Should I start suspecting cosmic rays or aliens here?
    – Alex
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 11:29
  • Cosmic rays are a possibility, aliens are unlikely. It might be connected to the - signs. Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 11:43

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