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Is there anyway or any popular tool that can allow me to create an isolated package environment for apt-get similar to what virtualenv does for pip and python packages?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think what you're looking after is the combination of schroot and debootstrap. Schroot is a utility that essentially lets you run a Linux distribution inside another. Debootstrap is a utility to install a (Debian-based) distribution inside another. See How do I run 32-bit programs on a 64-bit Ubuntu? (which is easily generalized to running a Debian or Ubuntu-based distribution inside another).

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See pbuilder and cowbuilder for example.

See also Package builders and Isolated build environments.

The last link has a succinct overview of pbuilder and sbuild.

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