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Re: What to do about /etc/debian_version

Joey Hess wrote:
> Santiago Vila wrote:
> > * Remove this file altogether, since it serves no useful purpose.
> The file does serve a useful purpose: it concentrates the debian version
> number string that is used in a number of places (issue.net and so on)
> into one central place to be modified.

What do you mean, exactly? issue.net has its version number hardcoded, it
is not taken from debian_version (both issue and issue.net are conffiles).

In the bug report you say "If I put base-files on hold and upgrade the
rest of a potato system to sid, the file is obviously not going to
tell the truth about the system". So it seems that you admit this
mechanism is not perfect and has its limitations, since packages may
be upgraded in an independent fashion, but yet you want to change it
to "better reflect the status of the system". In which way does it
better "reflect" the status of the system? It is not enough and more
accurate to look at /etc/apt/sources.list? Do you have a program or
script that behaves differently (or "better") if you change
/etc/debian_version from "testing/unstable" to "unstable"? If this is
the case I think such script would be broken, since packages uploaded
for unstable are also (indirectly) targetted to "testing".

In short: The reason you want to change /etc/debian_version is really
a technical one or it is purely aesthetical (which is what I suspect)?

> > * Make it a conffile (and therefore change its traditional behaviour).
> This is of course the thing I want.
> A behavior change will only occur if the admin edits the file though --
> it is not as if making it a conffile is going to at all affect people who
> don't modify it.

By a change in the behaviour I mean a change in the "specs" :-)
i.e. going from "this file is warranted to be the same as the one
coming from the most recently installed base-files package" to "this
file is not always warranted to be the same...".

If we can't safely assume that /etc/debian_version comes directly from
base-files, then it is when this file begins to be really useless.

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