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Can we have "trial installations" in Debian?

I was trying to upgrade Apache to the latest version in /unstable the
other day. It ended up dumping core every time I tried to get anything
from it. I eventualy reverted back to the old one by "installing" a 
previous version. However, this had a bad side effect:

The new version moved a lot of the files and directories, and the previous
version of the package didn't know to look there. So, after downgrading 
to the stable package, all of my pages were the "Welcome to your new
web site" deal. I eventually found the problems and fixed them, but it
got me thinking....

It would be nice if, when upgrading a package that required a lot of
configuration (say, Apache, or Majordomo etc...), I could indicate that
I wanted the existing installation tarred up and held in some holding tank
(probably in /var). Then, if the new installation goes wacko, I can always
bail out and revert to the previous working version.

Basically, this would entail archiving up all of the binaries, configuration
files, as well as whole directories that are likely to contain accumulated
data (like the digests for Majordomo... or maybe the logs for Apache, etc.).

Perhaps, it would easiest to make a utility that could generate a bona-fide
Debian "package" that would contain all of the files that came with the
original... only this package would capture them in the state they were in
when the upgrade happened. So, if you tried to install Apache 1.1 over
Apache 1.05 in "easy revert" mode, then the system would save the binaries
and config files in, say,


Is anyone pursuing any ideas like this?

- Joe

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