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installing multiple versions of a given package

I am curious to know whether it would be possible to have
two or more version of a given package exist compatibly and
have the alternatives tool be able to pick one. 

REASON. Sometimes the features of one version are so annoying that
one isn't interested in the `newer' version. I suppose most people's
answer would be: put the older version in /usr/local?

One problem with having multiple version of a given package is
the fact that common filenames would exist. How to resolve this?
I see one solution:

Put the files of a package in its own directory and then add links
via the alternatives tool into /usr/bin/ /bin/ etc. It would also
be convenient if the individual user could control what version
he has access to by creating his own internal alternatives link tree.

The ability to put links into /usr/bin /bin would al least preserve the

So to summarize:

Ability to install multiple version of a given package

Individual user access to alternatives functionality

Some consequences:

How would apt figure out to update or upgrade packages... presumably it
would simply offer to install the latest version without interfering
with the version you have on the system...you could also perhaps choose
to upgrade existing versions...

This brings up an obvious problem that people would be forced to
maintain more than one version....  Also is it possible for the
alternatives package to work for the user.  Obviously the user could
use aliases if he/she wanted to use a particular editor but it might be
nice to have the alternatives tool not just work on a single system but
on a per user basis.

I suppose the notion of having multiple version would run up again the
the upgrading behaviour of apt... it also demonstrates the the problem
with having binaries in places like /usr/bin /bin rather than having a
separate directory for each package and then adding links to the
standard place like /usr/bin /bin.... in this way the filesystem
standard could be upheld...which is, I assume, how  alternatives avoids
violating the FHS.



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