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Re: What to do about /etc/debian_version

On Sat, Jan 06, 2001 at 02:19:36PM +0100, Santiago Vila wrote:

> On Sat, 6 Jan 2001, Christopher Yeoh wrote:
> > This information could instead be stored in /etc/lsb-release. One of
> > the reasons for the creation of this file was to standardise across
> > the distributions the name and format of the file which contains this
> > type of information.
> Interesting. Is that file in /etc because of it being a static,
> non-shareable file (like /etc/debian_version), or it is also meant to
> be changed by the sysadmin? Could you point me to the specs for that
> file? (i.e. something that tells me what should be its contents for
> Debian 2.2 and for Debian woody/sid).

The fact is, files like this usually lie.  What information can you really get
from such a file?  If you want to know which version of a certain program is
installed, that information can be had as easily (and more accurately) from
other sources.  If you want to know where apt is downloading new software from,
that information is also elsewhere.  This file doesn't even serve to tell
whether the system originally was installed from a certain source media, as it
could be easily and automatically upgraded along with the rest of the system.

Even in the case of Big Commercial OS's with large, tagged releases (such as
Solaris), much of the system is often modified by patches, so that it is not
sufficient to simply test the version of the OS, but whether certain patches
are installed.

 - mdz

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