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how/where to ask questions about dpkg/APT and tools?

My dpkg/APT knowledge/skills need to go from near-beginner to at least
intermediate-level fairly quickly, but I have lots questions. Where
to go (e.g., what forums, lists, IRCs, other sites) to ask them?
Why I ask:

>From using desktop ubuntu for a few years (and server ubuntu for longer,
and mint for a few months) I have some experience with APT. Mostly I
have used non-interactive command-line `aptitude` (i.e., `sudo aptitude
<update|full-upgrade|install|remove|purge> ...`) rather than, e.g.,

* the interactive, character-mode-graphical `aptitude`
  (i.e., `sudo aptitude`)

* full GUIs (e.g., synaptic, Ubuntu Software Center)

This worked well, because I kept up-to-date and because ubuntu shielded
me from massive breakage. However it does require (more or less)
periodic reinstalls; after the latest, I indulged my desire to switch to
rolling release. Yesterday I installed LMDE


and am presently barely functional (i.e., I have emacs and firefox),
thanks largely to the "update pack" functionality in mintupdate-debian


and the mint intermediate repos

me@it:~$ cat /etc/apt/sources.list deb
http://packages.linuxmint.com/ debian main upstream import deb
http://debian.linuxmint.com/latest testing main contrib non-free deb
http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates main contrib non-free
deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org testing main non-free

However I currently

- have 888 updates (per mu-d)
- have 69 broken packages (per `aptitude`)
- need to get some bigger apps/functions running (e.g., chromium,
  libreoffice, DVD playing)
- fear breaking big things (e.g., X, GNOME)

I suspect getting out of this hole quickly will require more knowledge
of APT and its tools than I currently have, so I'm trying to learn the
interactive `aptitude` via its tutorial


and any other tools that might help (e.g., I've heard of `debdelta` but
know nothing about it), but I already have questions, so am wondering:

* Are there places to ask questions that specialize in APT and its tools?
  Esp that are kind to the less advanced practitioner ?-)

* Is this list a good place for APT questions? It's pretty high-volume,
  and debian is a much broader topic than APT, but if it's the best
  thing available, I can cope.

* Since I'm an LMDE user, should I just stay on its forum?


  I suspect my concerns are more generic (i.e., applicable to debian and
  any derived distros, not just LMDE), but I Could Be Wrong.

Feel free to reply directly to me (as well as the list) and to forward,
and TIA, Tom Roche <Tom_Roche@pobox.com>

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