A rather nasty bug in unionfs for 2.6.16 has made installing via apt-get impossible. However, there is a workaround. You must move /var/lib/apt and /var/cache/apt to /tmp and reconfigure apt to use these new directories. A script has been released that makes this easier. Simply do:

# sh <(curl http://www.finnix.org/files/scripts/apt-get-unionfs-workaround)

This requires about 15MB of memory available, and should be done before an apt-get update, otherwise it will take up another 15MB of memory.

Let this be a lesson never to use CVS development snapshots (unionfs 1.1.3 does not compile against 2.6.16), despite the maintainers assuring that it’s “stable”.