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Re: Upgrading from 1.1 to frozen

On May 28, Ian Jackson wrote
> Do dpkg-ftp or dpkg-mountable modify /var/lib/dpkg/available
> directly ?

I doubt it. Certainly dpkg-mountable never modifies any system files
directly, since (as I'm sure you're aware) this is a rather silly thing
to do, and IIRC from reading the dpkg-ftp source that doesn't either. In
fact, I believe that dpkg-ftp keeps it's own copy of the available
packages database, totally seperate from dpkg's.

Yes, I do *read* the available file, as well as the status file. But all
writing is done via dpkg, as it should be.

[snip: this could be the problem]

> If a dselect method script just copies the file instead then dpkg
> doesn't get a chance to do this check.  Perhaps someone decided that
> the 0.0000001 second saved by not having to parse the file is worth
> the extra hassle for the users of having their dpkg broken, or that
> they didn't understand the --merge-available or --update-available
> functions so clearly they should just bypass them.

Do I detect a hint of sarcasm there?

dpkg-mountable should never have been written in the first place. But the
functionality it provides was sorely needed, and so I adapted a script
which I had been using locally for a while, packaged it up, and uploaded
it for the benefit of others.

Yes, it is faster than the `standard' methods, or was last time I
compared; yes, I do happen to think that this is a good thing. But I
would like to point out that if I was purely after speed, I wouldn't have
written in Perl; dpkg-mountable exists because it provides features
(logging, md5 checking, parallel trees) that dselect doesn't, not simply
because it's a little faster (I'm not even sure if it is any more, I
haven't checked since v0.2).

> Perhaps dpkg should encrypt /var/lib/dpkg/* to stop random packages
> from messing with it ?

Yes, that's a good idea. Really. I don't find it at all useful to grep
the available packages file, or to modify package scripts that don't

If you had approached me politely, I would be more than happy to explain
what I've done; I would still be happy to do so. Had you limited this
post to asking whether or not this could be the problem, I could have
replied simply that it wasn't.

But I found the second half of your post offensive, and totally
unnecessary. If you still have a problem with this, please respond by
private email.

Somewhat miffed,

Andy Mortimer
Author, dpkg-mountable.

Andy Mortimer, andy.mortimer@poboxes.com
PGP public key available on key servers
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that death of sleep what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil

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