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dselect and dpkg

Hi there,

I'm trying to install Debian 1.1 (I know that it's unstable and maybe
I should start with a stable release first, but I have already learned
a few things and I think I should be able to complete the installation
with your help).

To this end, I have made a copy of one of the mirrors to a local disk
which I then take home with me to install Debian from.  Now, I have
already done this and it seems that the Packages* files and the
contents of the directories are out of sync.  Are the Packages* files
used at all by dpkg or dselect?  If so, can I just create a correct
version there by running dpkg --avail then copying the
/var/lib/dpkg/available file?  If not, what else can I do?  I have
tried to run dpkg --update-avail bla.deb but that failed with a
message about wrong format of the file.

Also, it seems that dselect sometimes gets confused about which
packages are available.  What would I need to do to convey the right
state of affairs to dselect?  Create the correct Packages.gz file?
Something else?

Also, when dselect claimed that it could install a package, I tried to
install it using dpkg --install which ran just fine.  This makes me
believe that maybe dselect shouldn't be used for installing a beta
version?  I would be happy with using dpkg if you told me a reasonable
way of resolving conflicts and installing a number of packages at
once.  For example, WIBNI I could just do a magic incantation to
install all required packages, say?  Then, if that succeeds I would
install all important packages, then I would look at what other
packages I want.

I will be starting with a clean slate tonight or tomorrow, i.e. I will
run cfdisk then mkfs on my disk, install the base system from
floppies, then mount the external disk with my copy of Debian
(unstable/binary-i386, contrib, non-free) and then do whatever you
tell me is best.

Please reply by mail to grossjoh@ls6.informatik.uni-dortmund.de, as
well, as my subscription to the list doesn't seem to have been
processed already.

Thanks a lot in advance for your patience,
Life is hard and then you die.

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