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Re: dpkg and its development

On Fri, Oct 08, 1999 at 10:09:34PM +0200, Piotr Roszatycki wrote:
> I'm afraid development of dpkg is stalled for some time. 

This is not exactly true. I am seeing progress. Look at dpkg-iwj in the bug
report lists.

Also, Wichert Ackermann is doing some NMU's.

It seems Ian is preparing a new release. There was already a prerelease in

Things could be better, but they were certainly worse before.

> dpkg isn't good tool for automatic administration without interactive mode. 
> I think this should be another option --force-replace-conf which 
> automatically replaces conffiles without questions and --force-leave-conf 
> which leaves old conffiles automatically.

Discuss this on debian-dpkg and write a patch. I think this is part of the
debconf integration, Joey Hess may have some ideas.

> Next problem - overwriting 'normal' files. i.e. Windows shows
> dialog with options [yes] [no] [yes for all newer files].
> I think dpkg should have a possibility to overwrite files
> if they are newer than current file.

Hu? I suggest you think a bit longer about this one.

> dpkg hasn't any verify tool. This tool is very helpful after system
> crash or administrator's error like removing or modifing system file.
> rpm has its own -V option.

This doesn't belong in dpkg. There is debsum, but md5sum files are not
policy yet.
> What about i18n? dpkg can't handle more than one language in
> contol fields. Next, I use Polish and English language,
> and I need only these docs and manuals. I don't want to
> install i.e. Italian manuals from man-db package.

Yeah, the ja people had a patch, I am not sure about this one. Still,
translating all the control fields will be a lot of work, how about starting
> In some situations I don't need /usr/doc files. I can't remove
> they pernamently because after upgrade they will install again.
> dpkg miss --exclude <pattern> option and 'file classes', more
> than conffiles. Sometimes I would like to install or upgrade
> package without conffiles or documents.

Indeed. I understand that the debian-doc lists has some ideas about this
(esp. Adam)

> dpkg has a problem with broken packages. i.e.:
> I tried to install some package. It couldn't be installed because of
> existing some file with another package. After all I had new
> files from this package but couldn't uninstall these files.

You really don't think we can help you without more information, do you? Try
--force-overwrite, and report overlaps as a bug.

That dpkg has problems with broken packages is not a surprise. In this case,
the packages should be fixed, not dpkg.
> APT-team done good job but it isn't normal if apt have to fixes
> dpkg's errors.

There is little overlap between apt and dpkg. It's no secret that dpkg does
not find the best ordering at mass installs with GROBiE.

> This is a strange situation. The most important tool is the buggiest
> piece of our software.

Definitely not. There are some obscure bugs, some annoying ones, but dpkg is
fairly stable. It does a good job in the very most cases.

Well, it is underdeveloped, I grant you. Some of your points were very good,
but neither of them is new.


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