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dpkg(1) and the "old" .deb format

>>>>> Joey Hess <joeyh@debian.org> writes:


 > Neither gzip nor tar files include an embedded version number and yet
 > the tar format has several times been extended without breaking
 > backwards compatability.  The family of zip/compress formats is a
 > mess and yet current gzip can extract every zip-like thing ever
 > created.  In a sense that's what "file format" means today -- even if
 > the format changes, old versions are still supported[1].


 > [1] Doesn't dpkg even support all the old variants of the deb format?

	Surprisingly, it depends on the locale!  Consider, e. g.:

$ LC_ALL=C dpkg -c \
drwxr-xr-x root/root         0 1995-10-01 18:18 ./
drwxr-xr-x root/root         0 1995-10-01 18:18 usr/
drwxr-xr-x root/root         0 1995-10-01 18:18 usr/doc/
drwxr-xr-x root/root         0 1995-10-01 18:18 usr/doc/copyright/
-rw-r--r-- root/root      1540 1995-10-01 18:18 usr/doc/copyright/dpkg
$ LC_ALL=de_DE.UTF-8 dpkg -c \
dpkg-deb: »archive.debian.org/debian/dists/Debian-0.93R6/binary/base/dpkg-1.0.0.deb« ist kein Archiv im Debian-Format

	That being said, it wasn't all that hard to extract the contents
	using just the plain old Shell utilities [1].

[1] news:86sjh2zodl.fsf@gray.siamics.net

FSF associate member #7257

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