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I figured the "7u2" part stood for "Debian 7.2" (aka "wheezy"). But I'm wondering if anybody knows the official answer as to why some packages have it and others do not.

Example: http://metadata.ftp-master.debian.org/changelogs//main/g/grub2/grub2_1.99-27+deb7u2_changelog

The only time "+deb7u2" is appended to the version is when the package gets put in the "stable" release. Does this mean that's a "tag" to indicate a checkin to stable from another repo?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

The upload deb7u2 means a update to the version of that package in the stable release (version 7), and one that does not correspond to a new upstream release. These kinds of changes are typically security patches/fixes. The 2 denotes the second such update. Look at any changelog. The numbers after the u increase monotonically.

This is defined in Debian Policy for Non-maintainer uploads of security upates:

If you upload a package to testing or stable, you sometimes need to "fork" the version number tree. This is the case for security uploads, for example. For this, a version of the form +debXuY should be used, where X is the major release number, and Y is a counter starting at 1. For example, while Wheezy (Debian 7.0) is stable, a security NMU to stable for a package at version 1.5-3 would have version 1.5-3+deb7u1, whereas a security NMU to Jessie would get version 1.5-3+deb8u1.

A random example, part of the changelog for the wheezy Django package, follows.

python-django (1.4.5-1+deb7u4) stable-security; urgency=high

  * Stable security update. Fixes CVE-2013-1443. Closes: #723043.
    - Denial-of-service via large passwords.

 -- Luke Faraone <lfaraone@debian.org>  Sun, 15 Sep 2013 16:42:19 -0400

python-django (1.4.5-1+deb7u3) stable-security; urgency=high

  * New upstream security release.
    - Directory traversal with ``ssi`` template tag
  * Correct invalid date on patch headers.

 -- Luke Faraone <lfaraone@debian.org>  Thu, 05 Sep 2013 14:14:34 -0400

python-django (1.4.5-1+deb7u2) stable-security; urgency=high

  * No change rebuild. Brings back missing jquery symlinks. Closes: #721397

 -- Raphaël Hertzog <hertzog@debian.org>  Sun, 01 Sep 2013 08:46:49 +0200

python-django (1.4.5-1+deb7u1) stable-security; urgency=high

  * New upstream security release.
    - Possible cross-site scripting via django.utils.http.is_safe_url
  * Update uploaders field.
  * Patch testcases to use an invalid domain.

 -- Luke Faraone <lfaraone@debian.org>  Tue, 13 Aug 2013 15:54:19 -0400

python-django (1.4.5-1) unstable; urgency=high

  * New upstream maintenance release dropping some undesired .pyc files
    and fixing a documentation link.
  * High urgency due to former security updates.

 -- Raphaël Hertzog <hertzog@debian.org>  Sun, 24 Feb 2013 10:28:08 +0100
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