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apt-diff: a tool to diff filesystem content against APT

(I'm not subscribed to this list, please CC me on replies.)

I have recently written a tool I call "apt-diff" to compare filesystem
content against APT. It is intended for investigating problems where
packaged files get modified/deleted after installing them from APT
(e.g., by user customization, accidental deletion, etc.). I originally
wrote it after clobbering the packaged ALSA installation on my
computer with "make install" and needing a good way to detect which
packaged files had been modified so that I could restore them. I also
find it useful for figuring out what customizations I have made to my
system after I have forgotten about them.

Conceptually apt-diff is meant to act like "svn diff", "git diff",
etc., except that instead of comparing to a source code repository it
compares to the APT repositories. I've designed it for processing many
files/packages in batch, so diff'ing the entire filesystem is doable.
It's sort of like an APT-aware version of debsums. The code is at

My hope is for this to become part of the APT stack in Debian and I'm
posting here to see if there is any interest in that from the Debian
developer community. I think it might be helpful for it to be invoked
from reportbug to diagnose/triage issues where files or configurations
have been changed. Plus I think it's just a nice tool to have
available for power users.

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