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Re: What to do about /etc/debian_version

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).
late-night brain-fart, sorry.

> 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)?

I know that the system is and will be running unstable in the future.
I'm the only admin. So I'm probably the best authority on exactly what
version fo debian it is running, so why not let me edit the file to
reflect that?

> > > * 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...".

Ah, but that is not true at all. Ways that a determined person or
package can make /etc/debian_version not be the same right now:

* divert it, replace with your own file
* modify it every 5 minutes in a cron job
* install a locally compiled base-files


> 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.

Then it must have always been useless. Except, I have actually found it
useful (see examples on the thread a few days ago).

see shy jo

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