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Let's take mplayer for example. I want to compile a new version and create a deb package to roll out to my developers. The version number is 2:1.0~rc3+svn20090426-1ubuntu16.1. I'm not making any changes to the code, just adding a few flags and different location to install.

When it comes to versioning, should I increment the epoch number by 1? Or keep it at 2 and also modify the versioning number after the epoch to reflect the svn date I compiled against?

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I would rather you rebuild the version provided by the distro. That's because there's at least some guarantee that someone supposedly careful actually tested that version on the distro itself.

Regarding versioning, the epoch is one idea, but I prefer that you change the version to something like 2:1.0~rc3+svn20090426-1ubuntu16.1custom1, simply for the sake of clarity. This way, if you wish to prevent distro upgrades from installing pristine (distro-built) packages...

  • Use apt-pinning, or
  • Place a package on hold:

    /usr/bin/sudo echo "mplayer hold" | /usr/bin/sudo  dpkg --set-selections
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