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A tool for tracking masked updates to stable packages


I've just started to do research in order to write a tool which I was
always missing. What I have so far is just a brief "background"
information, explaining the problem - see below.

I thought it might be good to ask here if I'm not trying to reinvent
something that already exists. Or maybe someone has some ideas about
this issue?

| Background
| ----------
| Maintaining Debian stable systems sometimes requires installation of
| unofficial versions of packages:
|  - backporting newer versions, when significant new functionality is
|    required on the system but unavailable in the official version found
|    in the current stable release. In this case, the version string
|    usually sorts as newer than the official stable version string. This
|    means that pinning is not necessary, as apt will upgrade such package
|    by default.
|  - making local changes to the official version. In this case, the most
|    reliable way is to make the version string sort as older than the
|    official one (using the "tilde" feature of dpkg) and force
|    installation of such package using pinning. (The other strategy:
|    trying to invent a version string newer than the current one, but
|    older than the next one is difficult to do reliably.)
| In both cases, there is one major drawback: apt will not warn you where
| newer versions of official packages (point releases, security updates)
| will appear in the stable release. This means you may miss some
| important change.
| The point of this document is to design a utility whose job is to do
| exactly this: let you track newer official versions of locally overriden
| packages.

Marcin Owsiany <porridge@debian.org>             http://marcin.owsiany.pl/
GnuPG: 1024D/60F41216  FE67 DA2D 0ACA FC5E 3F75  D6F6 3A0D 8AA0 60F4 1216

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