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dpkg status Conffiles obsolete flag?

I am hoping to understand the "obsolete" flag on conffiles in the dpkg
status file.  There are many packages that include this flag at the
end of the line.  For example:

Package: file
 /etc/magic.mime 272913026300e7ae9b5e2d51f138e674 obsolete
 /etc/magic 272913026300e7ae9b5e2d51f138e674 obsolete

And there many more examples such as in apache2.2-common and gsfonts.
These conffiles that are marked obsolete do exist on the system. 

I could not find where this was documented.  The man page or dpkg says:

              Statuses of available packages. This file contains
              information about whether a package is marked for
              removing or not, whether it is installed or not,
              etc. See section INFORMATION ABOUT PACKAGES for more

But the section "INFORMATION ABOUT PACKAGES" does not say anything
about this field that I could find.

I downloaded the source to several packages having obsolete conffiles
marked and I could not find any reference in the package that would
cause those files to be marked as obsolete.

The reason I am looking at this is because I am trying to automate
system upgrades from Lenny to Squeeze and some packages have init.d
scripts that are marked obsolete and I am trying to understand why.

Could some kind soul enlighten me on how conffiles are marked obsolete?


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