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Re: Status of deb(5) format support in Debian

On Fri, Aug 02, 2013 at 04:09:20AM +0200, Guillem Jover wrote:
> The other side of the support I've been pondering about is extending
> dpkg-deb so that .deb files can be modified in conformant ways, stuff
> like inserting _-style members, or appending extra ones at the end,
> which would cover the needs of several other tools.

For the Ubuntu archive, it bothers me that it currently has code that
pokes about with ar to verify that the .deb has a sane format.  I don't
see a way to do this efficiently with dpkg-deb, though; "dpkg-deb -I"
stops at the control member and doesn't even care if the data member is
entirely missing, while "dpkg-deb --fsys-tarfile" and similar will
process the entire data member, which will be inefficient on large

If I haven't just missed something, would it be possible to have a
"dpkg-deb --verify" option that just checks for conformance with deb(5)?
That would be simpler for this application than having to write new
bindings against a (new?) libdpkg interface.

That said, the manual verification does give us the ability to have the
archive enforce things like "amazing new compression support is only
available as of $release", which is perhaps useful.  So maybe the
dpkg-deb option shouldn't be just an assertion, but should instead print
out a machine-readable list of properties of the .deb; then we could
check which properties are permitted.  What do you think?

Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson@debian.org]

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