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Re: apt/dpkg package files (status, available)

On Tue, 22 Apr 2003 18:31:29 +0100 Colin Watson wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 22, 2003 at 04:46:02PM +0100, Carlos Sousa wrote:
> > ...
> > What is the difference between the status and the available files in
> > /var/lib/dpkg? And what is their relationship to the various
> > *Packages files downloaded by 'apt-get update'?
> status is the current state of the system; it may well include short
> paragraphs on uninstalled packages with "Status: purge ok
> not-installed" or similar.

Ok. But I'm pretty sure I never installed those berlin packages I see in
my status file... :)

> available is whatever was available in the archive the last time
> 'dselect update' was run.

In what archive? I get:

   $ grep-dctrl -r -sVersion -FPackage "^cdrecord$" /var/lib/apt/lists/*Packages
   Version: 4:1.10-7       <-- in stable
   Version: 4:2.0+a07-1    <-- in testing, installed
   Version: 4:2.0+a10-2    <-- in unstable

   $ grep-dctrl -r -sVersion -FPackage "^cdrecord$" /var/lib/dpkg/available
   Version: 4:2.0+a07-1    <-- the one in testing

which shows that the available file doesn't really show all available
packages. Perhaps it just lists the latest packages that may be
installed considering the APT::Default-Release setting?

> > The available file, on the other hand, doesn't show all packages
> > that are available for install (but arepresent in the *Packages
> > files).
> My guess is that you're running 'apt-get update' rather than the
> preferable 'dselect update'.

No, I'm running 'dselect update' in a cron script, 3 times a day.

> > The reason I'm asking is that I'm writing a few scripts to provide
> > various kinds of overviews envolving all Debian packages in all
> > distributions, and parsing through the *Packages files takes a LONG
> > time(hours), so I'm searching for other sources of package info.
> Do you know about the grep-dctrl package?

Tried it, but no good for my purposes. I need to generate a text file
with a few selected fields from each package, tab-separated in a
one-package-per-line format. grep-dctrl just lists one field per line.

If only Debian would consider reducing the number of available packages
to a few hundred only... That'd give me much faster scripts :))


Carlos Sousa

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