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Re: New method for Packages/Sources file updates


My question: Does anyone know a reason why woody or sarge programs
would not be able to cope with a Packages/Sources file with a (or

Package: removals[-timestamp?]
Removals: foo, bar, baz

stanza embedded in it?

For those of you that didn't read the debian-devel thread a short
summary of http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2004/11/msg00790.html:

I suggested a simple method of downloading only changes to
Packages/Sources files by sorting the Packages/Sources files with the
newest entries at the top. My suggestion also needs a tiny file
listing packages that have been completly removed form the
Packages/Sources file (not just updated).

Steve McIntyre <steve@einval.com> wrote about the very same idea in
his blog (http://blog.einval.com/2004/08/08#packages-files) but had
the idea of adding special stanzas into the Packages/sources file to
mark removals of packages.

For details on how updating the Packages/Sources files then work
please read the above urls. The details are not realy relevant to my
question. Suffice it to say it reduces daily updates to <1% of now and
allows very long gaps between updates (say up to 1 years at the
cost of +50K before gzip).

Now, I like the idea of having just a single file instead of
downloading two files. To mark packages that are removed completly
from a Packages file I thought about the following:

On each day and only if there were some removals a special stanza is
added at the top of the Packages file:

Package: removals[-timestamp?]
Removals: foo, bar, baz

I tested adding such a stanza to a Packages file and using that with
dselect (apt method only), apt-get and aptitude. The Packages file is
parsed correctly and the special stanza is ignored. It does not show
up in dselect, aptitude or apt-cache. The only sign of it I could find
was with apt-get (and I consider that harmless):

% sudo apt-get install removals
Reading Package Lists... Done
Building Dependency Tree... Done
Package removals is not available, but is referred to by another package.
This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
is only available from another source
E: Package removals has no installation candidate


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