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System snapshots

Hi all,

Occasionally, upgrading a Debian unstable (or testing) system results in
breakage. Sometimes the bugs are not immediately detected, or they are not
easily located to a single package, especially if the upgrade in question
contained many libraries or other shared code. Thus it would be useful to
know what has changed in a past upgrade, or when a certain package was last
upgraded. Unfortunately, apt and dpkg do not have built-in logging (see

It would also be useful to be able to restore the system (or at least the
Debian packages and their configuration) to the state it was in before the
upgrade. The archive at snapshots.debian.net luckily has all the old
versions of packages available.

I've been playing with putting the /etc directory plus a list of currently
installed packages and their versions under version control. In principle,
a "rollback" to any previous system state would be possible by installing
(downgrading) the needed packages and restoring the configuration
information in /etc.

Now, I could develop scripts to make using the information in the version
control archive easier with features such as tracking the version histories
of single packages etc., but I'd like to know if there has been any previous
work with similar goals or is there something I've overlooked which would
make restoring the system state unfeasible?

All the best,


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