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Re: Can I stay current using source packages instead of binaries?

On 8 Dec 1997, Peter Mutsaers wrote:

> Hello,
> Normally I stay current with hamm using dselect or dpkg directly. This
> uses binary packages. The drawback is that sometimes (most often) the
> real package doesn't change, but only the patches that were made to
> 'debianize' it.
> Now I wonder whether it is possible (e.g. like the FreeBSD ports
> system) to stay current using source code; thus one only downloads the
> underlying package once, and gets new versions of the debian patches
> only.
Yes! This is exactly what the current Debian Source Package format is
intended to accomplish. All you need do is get the diff and the dsc files,
both small, for the package in question. You only need these files in the
same directory as the source tarball. You can now run 'dpkg-source -x
<package>.dsc' to "unpack" the source and apply the diff.

While this doesn't work on all packages (some can't use the "pristine
source" feature because of the way the upstream source is packaged.), for
the ones that it doesn't work with, you only need download the
<package>.orig.tar.gz file from a debian mirror and the diff-dsc pair will
be all that is necessary until the version changes on the source. 

Notice, that while this can make the expert user's life much easier, it
was a necessity for the developers. Specialy when a package might go
through several revisions in a short period of time. This system relieves
the developer of the need to "upload" the source for each change. Since
many of our developers are on "pay/byte" internet connections, obtaining
their work made this process a necessity.


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aka   Dale Scheetz                   Phone:   1 (904) 656-9769
      Flexible Software              11000 McCrackin Road
      e-mail:  dwarf@polaris.net     Tallahassee, FL  32308

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