I ran into an interesting limitation of the .deb package format today. I work at an electronics design company, where I maintain my company's build servers. We use some vendor-supplied toolchains that have very large installations (~30GB uncompressed).
I've been trying to repackage these toolchains so that I can control their configuration and deployment, and I hit something interesting. Since .deb files are built using 'ar' at the top-level, they can't hold any single files that are larger than 9.99GB, which appears to be a fundamental limitation of the ar format.
Is there anything I can do to get around this? If not would it be possible to make some tweaks to the .deb file format in a future release? Maybe replacing 'ar' with tar, or allowing multiple data archive files in the package?