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Storing pristine copies of conffiles? Conffile merging during upgrading


I can see numerous bugs/wishes about requesting merging of conffiles
during upgrades. See list of bugs here:

As noted in several of them, storing copies of the conffiles before
modification is an essential step to get to the 3-way merge
functionality, although sdiff style 2-way merging is useful too.

Storing copies of the original conffiles would enable external scripts to provide the 3-way-merge funtionality that currently is impossible.

In Bug#32877 I found Dec 2001 posts from Wichert Akkerman saying:
The plan is to keep the original conffile in the dpkg database so we
can do a more useful merge actually.
Probably part of dpkg 1.10 ... conffile merging isn't all that
difficult though so it'll probably appear in CVS in the next month or

Was there ever progress made on this? I don't see any conffile copies on
my system :-(

Also, Bug#120152 mentions that Jarno (elonen@debian.org) maintains deb
packages with 2-way merging (using sdiff). Is it just finding the time
to do merge-in his changes that is lacking (don't I know it? :-D) or is
there some more substantial reason holding this back from being included
in the official dpkg? http://www.dpkg.org/PatchSubmission and the bug
mentions Arch changesets as the way to submit patches. Is that the
reason? Then I'll learn arch and do it! Anway, here is his patch:
or http://tinyurl.com/a8l9p

Would it be OK for me to introduce this "storing conffile copies" +
"merging of conffiles upon upgrading" as "Development Proposals" on
http://www.dpkg.org/ or is that redundant since it is also a wishlist item?

Finally, on (n)etiquette: Is this sort of thing appropriate for this
list? Please let me know if not.

Am I totally off my rocker desiring this rather badly? :-D

Peter Valdemar Mørch

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