managing source packages
I have been using Debian stable on my laptop for some time now, and I
really appreciate it, especially because updates do not break things
that work well. However, sometimes I need a package/feature that is only
in testing/unstable, and which is not (yet) in backports. The safest way
(I guess) to deal with those packages is to install them from source
using "apt-get build-dep / apt-get -b source / dpkg -i", but there are
several shortcomings of this method, which I describe below. Any
thoughts of how one can manage source packages better would be appreciated.
1. Installing/building dependencies
Say, I want to build a package pkg1. Usually, "apt-get build-dep pkg1"
will install all dependencies. However, apt-get will fail if one of
them, say pkg2, is not in "stable". Then, I have to install dependencies
of pkg2, build pkg2 itself, and possibly do so recursively with
dependencies of pkg2 (and it took me hours when I tried that with
texlive...). It would be nice if "apt-get" (or some other tool) would
just try to resolve that itself, e.g., write "I need to install packages
pkgA, pkgB from Etch, and build+install source packages pkgTestingA,
pkgTestingB from Lenny. Do you want to continue? [Y/N]".
2. Keeping packages up to date
Is there any way of automatic updating of packages built from source
"debs"? It would be nice to have something like "apt-get source-update".
3. Removing (build) dependencies
Say, I installed a package pkg1 from source "debs". I needed to install
pkg2 as a dependency of pkg1, and pkg3 as a build-time dependency of
pkg1. Is there any way to remove pkg2 and pkg3 when pkg1 is,
respectively, removed or built?
I have heard that "aptitude" might have some of those features in the
future, and I can try to write scripts that solve the problem. But if
there already is a viable solution, I will not "reinvent the wheel".