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Bug#929271: backports customizations are not enabled for live-build

Hello all,

It seems that I got confused by this bug report.

The title says: backports customizations are not enabled for live-build
The content says: Building a Jessie image
The content says: Unrecognized command line option
osposweb replied with: the program gives options to alter all sources of
packages except the "backports"

So we have 4 issues in one bug report. This means that this mail is a
rather long one...

Issue 1: backports customizations are not enabled for live-build

Regarding the Debian mirrors: as I understand, Debian nowadays has
reduced the configuration for finding the mirrors, by using
deb.debian.org for all current releases, architectures and geographical
locations. The backports for stretch are there [2], and all geographical
locations can use the same URL [3].

According to [1], the Debian project migrated the jessie-backports,
which were located at deb.debian.org/debian to the read-only archive at
archive.debian.org, which will not get updates.

According to the commits [4] and [5], which were made 6 years ago,
backports.d.o was integrated in the main mirror. Since then Debian has
been released often enough that I think that you will not need an entry
to backports.d.o any more.

However, if you need to add other repositories, the manual at section
8.1.5 [6] states that you need to add specific files:
config/archives/your-repository.list.chroot and/or
config/archives/your-repository.list.binary. Within these files you can
write lines with the same syntax as you would do in /etc/apt/sources.list.
(Note that I still have not touched chapter 8 of the manual, there are
still some old references to alioth.debian.org.)
So for getting access to other repositories, you should use these files,
and not one of the command line options.

I have tested backports with:
lb config --distribution stretch
echo "deb http://deb.debian.org/debian stretch-backports main" >
echo "deb http://deb.debian.org/debian stretch-backports main" >

The backports are available, but grep is still at 2.27-2 instead of
3.3-1~bpo9+1. So I did not correctly configure apt pinning.

So for sufficiently recent versions of Debian, backports works fine from
my point of view.

Issue 2: Building a live image for jessie

I've attempted to create a live image using Debian testing as the host
with the following command:

lb config --distribution jessie

This fails with the following message:
W: Failed to fetch
http://deb.debian.org/debian/dists/jessie-updates/InRelease  Unable to
find expected entry 'main/source/Sources' in Release file (Wrong
sources.list entry or malformed file)

The content of jessie-updates on [7] is practically empty. Effectively
this part of the repository is disabled. The implementation of apt from
jessie is apparently not able to handle this repository, the current apt
from testing works fine.

Jessie is now oldstable, and will soon (TM) be oldoldstable. Unless you
have a compelling reason to use jessie, I would suggest to pick stretch
or perhaps even buster.

Note: lb config --distribution stretch works fine
Note: lb config --distribution buster works fine too

Issue 3: Unrecognized command line option

As noted in my first response to this bug report, I will update the
manual to match the current code. The time I spent on writing this mail
has provided me with lots of information on how to update the manual to
match the current implementation of the live-image building tools.

Issue 4: the program gives options to alter all sources of packages
except the "backports"

> [snip] the
> program gives options to alter all sources of packages except the
> "backports"... because you can alter all and not that?

I think I answered this question with the test for backports as
mentioned with issue 1. Support for backports is not in the basic
configuration of 'lb config', you need to explicitly add support for
that repository, and you can use the configuration files for that.

> I don't think that the excuse of "all are always in the same source" is
> valid, because according to the installation images as well as the
> backports images are not always coordinated between all the mirrors
> origins according to the debian notes.

I am not aware of these notes, on which URL can I find them?
It can be that local mirror will not be synced yet or only a partial
mirror, but you can always add an additional repository.

> In addition, not all the countries have excelent internet providers and
> the net service are expensive in some cases..

For that, you can use something like apt-cacher-ng during the
construction of the live image.

Summmary: from my personal point of view, only issue 3 remains.

With kind regards,
Roland Clobus

[1] https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2019/03/msg00006.html
[2] https://backports.debian.org/Instructions/
[3] https://wiki.debian.org/DebianGeoMirror
[7] http://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/jessie-updates/

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