dpkg(1) and the "old" .deb format
>>>>> Joey Hess <email@example.com> 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.
>  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 .
FSF associate member #7257