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Re: Putting a TESTING package on a STABLE system

On Thu, 2 Aug 2001, Newton, Harry wrote:

> I am running a Debian 2.2, and have just upgraded/updated the system using
> apt-get and this /etc/apt/sources.list:
> deb ftp://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian stable main contrib non-free
> deb ftp://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian stable/non-US main contrib non-free
> What I should like to do is put a few TESTING packages on this system (
> specifically Tomcat and its dependencies ).
> I've been told that I should make a new sources.list, with 'stable' changed
> to 'testing', and then run:
> 	apt-get update
>       apt-get install tomcat
> and _then_, restore my original sources.list. Is there anything I should
> know about doing this ?
> However, I believe that there's a better way, using apt-get 0.5. How would I
> do this, and how would I get apt-get 0.5, which is in TESTING ?

Doing as above can be risky, especially if your upgrade involves basic

An option which is always worth keeping in mind is to build from source.
Let us suppose for concreteness that we are building packages from woody
on potato. This does not always work, but it has the considerable
advantage of being a very safe method. Also, it minimizes the number of
packages from woody that are present in your pototo system, if that is
what you want.

Of couse, this involves having the build dependencies available in
the system, but the dependencies may already be available as potato
packages. If not, they need to be built from source themselves, but of
course this can easily lead to rapidly expanding list of packages to be
built from source if these packages in turn have dependencies not in

A useful compromise might be to mix the two methods as follows. Look at
the dependencies of the package you want to install from testing (using
apt-cache show, for example), and try to satisfy the depencies of this
package using potato packages. Then look at the dependencies of the
packages that can't be satisfied by potato. If these start involving
basic packages you run a significant risk of breaking your system, and in
these cases you might try to consider building from source if the
build-depends allow it. 

I usually try to be conservative about these things, and I've never broken
any system I've administered. :-)

Your reference to apt 0.5 might be to do with build depends. The comand
apt-get build-dep foo will show you the build dependencies for foo. This
is useful but not necessary as the dsc files when downloaded will give
you the same information.

Note that apt 0.5 can easily be built on potato with little trouble. I did

You might to take a look at the New Maintainers manual to see about
building packages. At base it is just apt-get source -b foo, but there are
various refinements that it is worth knowing about.  Also there is a new
Apt-HOWTO just out in unstable, which might be worth looking at.


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