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Bug#216682: apt/preferences: need for pinning a given (set of) package per release

severity 216682 wishlist
retitle 216682 People still don't understand the preferences file

On Sun, Oct 19, 2003 at 09:53:41PM +0200, Yann Dirson wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 20, 2003 at 12:29:47PM -0400, Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> > The man page does not say this; that's just what the two examples look like.
> > Pinning a single package by release works fine.
> (Ah, the fact I'm dealing with essential packages may have warped my
> evaluation of the situation somehow)
> However, it does say:
>  The specific form assigns a priority (a "Pin-Priority") to a
>  specified package and specified version or version range.
> And:
>  The general form assigns a priority to all of the package versions in
>  a given distribution (that is, to all the versions of packages that
>  are listed in a certain Release file) or to all of the package
>  versions coming from a particular Internet site, as identified by the
>  site's fully qualified domain name.
> I think it could be made more clear then.
> Does "specific/general" refer to the "single package name" vs. "*"
> aspect of the example, or to the "version/release" keyword ?  The fact
> that examples does not allow to disambiguate seems annoying to me.
> The fact there is an "origin" keyword as well would advocate for the
> 1st alternative.  BTW, this "origin" keyword is not documented, apart
> from being mentionned as existing and being different from "release
> o=...".  You may want to address this as well - I don't think it's
> worth openning another bugreport ;)

If you think it is unclear, please submit a patch improving it.  The text
under VERSIONING explains this to my satisfaction.  This man page has
already been practically rewritten, and still people have difficulty with

I personally think that the old VERSIONING text was clearer:

>       One  purpose  of  the  preferences file is to let the user select which
>       version of a package will be installed. This selection can be made in a
>       number  of  ways  that fall into three categories, version, release and
>       origin.
>       Selection by version [...]
>       Selection by release [...]
>       The final selection method is by origin [...]

But I think that in the end, this just isn't a simple concept, and people will
always have trouble with it.

When in doubt, try something and see if it works.  If you had done that
rather than filing this bug report, it would have answered your question
more efficiently, and we would not be having this discussion.

 - mdz

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