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Re: Derivatives needing to replace config files

Hi Christian,

Debathena developed a CDBS extension module called config-package-dev that lets you do this in a mostly-sane manner for packaged files (either regular files or conffiles, but not generated files). The purpose of config-package-dev is to let us ship a package that via dpkg-divert replaces a file in another package, so that we don't have to rebuild the other package, take on responsibility for watching for security updates, etc., and can just point users at the main Debian repository for it.

For your example, you'd just create your modified zshrc, use the .install file to place it in /etc/zsh/zshrc.grml, and put

include /usr/share/cdbs/1/rules/config-package.mk

in your CDBS debian/rules. There's also syntax for writing a sed (or other) script to transform the file at build time, which helps if you're just adding or removing a few lines instead of supplying a new file, so you can just do a no-change rebuild to pick up the new file (which we do for every stable Debian or Ubuntu releae at the least).

For more info, see the home page:


We use this heavily on MIT's Athena workstations, and this has enabled us to compartmentalize what "Athena" is and provide a competent distribution for laptop/private machines running Debian or Ubuntu, instead of effectively distributing our own OS as we did since the '80s. A couple of other sites use config-package-dev too. We do this both for configuration and wrappers around binaries. I'm also working on a Debhelper based reweite in my spare time since DH 7 got us much of what we originally wanted from CDBS, but I'm not sure how quickly this will be done.

Geoffrey Thomas

On Thu, 28 Jul 2011, Christian Hofstädtler wrote:

Hi there!

Some derivatives need/want to replace config files shipped by standard Debian packages.

I'm wondering what is the best way to do this as long as the package is shipped by the derivative, and, what can be done inside Debian to make this easier, and/or actually allowing this inside Debian itself (with limitations, of course).

If anyone wants to discuss this at DC11, myself and other Grml developers are usually somewhere in the upper floor hacklab.


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