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OpenSSH server ignoring preseed selection

I'm trying to automate installation using preseeding. I have used the 
following selection for openssh:

    openssh-server openssh-server/permit-root-login boolean true

I also tried 
openssh-server openssh-server/permit-root-login string yes
In both cases, sshd_config shows:

    PermitRootLogin without-password

I gather that this is due the fix applied for bug 298138.
While the OP's, and the patch submitter's rationale behind changing
PermitRootLogin to without-password is ok, doing so by ignoring the 
debconf selection if not upgrading is *not*. If I wish to automate 
new installs, with a reasonably secure root password, unlike OP, I 
fail to see why my preseed debconf selection should not work. There 
are plenty of such selections where the user is not asked a question 
at all and the default selection is used, so I fail to see why this 
question is being ignored (or not asked, as maybe the case) if not 
upgrading. I have no problems with the default value of 
'without-password', but the patch is buggy.

Unless of course, the thinking is that the boolean value of true is 
translated to without-password, since key-based login is still allowed.
If that is the case, then the selection should be changed to using a 
string, instead of a boolean, since four values are supported as of 

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