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Version specific packages

Q: Can multiople versions of packages be installed under debian?
   (perhaps using a forced install of some sort?)

Q: Would a file tree layout that allowed be against policy?


I am attempting to package something new (a graphics language for
scientific plot called gri).  I hope to convince the author to change his
license to allow insertion into main (or at least non-free), but want to
get packaging done first.

The software historically installs in an /opt tree that handled versions:

/opt/bin/gri         -> /opt/gri/bin/gri
/opt/bin/gri-2.1.17  -> /opt/gri/2.1.17/bin/gri
/opt/gri/bin/gri     -> /opt/gri/2.1.17/bin/gri
/opt/gri/lib/gri.cmd -> /opt/gri/2.1.17/lib/gri.cmd

So if you had prior versions, you could keep them and get, for example:

/opt/bin/gri         -> /opt/gri/bin/gri
/opt/bin/gri-2.1.17  -> /opt/gri/2.1.17/bin/gri
/opt/bin/gri-2.1.15  -> /opt/gri/2.1.15/bin/gri
/opt/gri/bin/gri     -> /opt/gri/2.1.17/bin/gri
/opt/gri/lib/gri.cmd -> /opt/gri/2.1.17/lib/gri.cmd

So `gri' would always point to the latest installed version, but
`gri-VERSION' also existed and coexisted with prior versions.  This is to
protect the user from gri version incompatibilities after the user has
spent a day tweaking a plot to look just right under a given version of

I can easily change the above /opt tree to conform to a much simpler /usr
tree that would allow for multiple versions to coexist:

/usr/bin/gri             -> /usr/bin/gri-2.1.17

This ressembles an emacs layout.

The question is:  Can Debian support this?  If I install a new version of
the package, will dpkg insist on removing the old?  Or can I keep them
both?  (There are /usr/doc and /usr/info files that would be over-written,
but that would be okay as far as I'm concerned.  They don't change much and
could reflect the very latest version.)

Or, must I simply the tree further to:


in order to conform with Debian policy?

Any input appreciated...
Peter Galbraith, research scientist          <GalbraithP@dfo-mpo.gc.ca>
Maurice Lamontagne Institute, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada
P.O. Box 1000, Mont-Joli Qc, G5H 3Z4 Canada. 418-775-0852 FAX: 775-0546
   6623'rd Linux user at the Linux Counter -- http://counter.li.org/ 

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