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Is it possible to create a dependency for the debian version in a .deb package?

I would like to put two versions of one package into the same repository. One is for debian 5 and one for debian 6. The version numbers are different (deb 6 version has a higher number), but I would like to avoid accidental installs of the deb 6 version on deb 5 systems.

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As long as the dependencies are satisfied, why does it matter? This is not normally done, and that is why. If you want to have different apt urls/sources for different Debian releases in an apt repos, that is fine, but it is not necessary to have different packages for that to work. –  Faheem Mitha Mar 17 '11 at 6:23
@Faheem It matters since technologies change and even though the dependencies are satisfied, the deb 6 version won't work on deb 5 and vice versa. –  Let_Me_Be Mar 17 '11 at 11:01
having difficulty parsing that. The dependencies are satisfied but the program won't work? What kind of program is this, if you don't mind me asking? –  Faheem Mitha Mar 17 '11 at 11:59
@Faheem Grid software (Torque). –  Let_Me_Be Mar 17 '11 at 12:49
Is it clusterresources.com/products/torque-resource-manager.php? Must be pretty exotic. I've never before heard of such a scenario. –  Faheem Mitha Mar 17 '11 at 15:26
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I don't have an actual Debian machine here, but the same mechanism should work.

jinx:1467 Z$ dpkg-query -S /etc/debian_version
base-files: /etc/debian_version
jinx:1468 Z$ dpkg-query -l base-files
| Status=Not/Inst/Cfg-files/Unpacked/Failed-cfg/Half-inst/trig-aWait/Trig-pend
|/ Err?=(none)/Reinst-required (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
||/ Name                Version             Description
ii  base-files          5.0.0ubuntu20.10.04 Debian base system miscellaneous files
jinx:1469 Z$ _

So, as a first cut, you should be able to depend on a specific version of the base-files package. You can map releases to version numbers on http://packages.debian.org, but in this case you already have the versions: they're the same as the Debian releases (5 vs. 6; ignore point releases for this comparison).

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I don't think you can make a Debian package depend on a specific Debian release. A workaround for the Debian 6 package is to make it depend on a package version that is not available on Debian 5. For example, make it depend on libc6 > 2.7 (here's a page that shows which versions of that package is in which Debian suite/release).

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Better, declare the package's actual versioned dependencies on whatever software you need from Debian 6. –  Gilles Mar 16 '11 at 21:47
@Gilles: Why is that better? What if the dependencies are the same between the two versions of the special package? –  Tshepang Mar 16 '11 at 21:50
I think Gilles means that if the dependencies are satisfied, then it doesn't matter which release you install it on. That also corresponds to typical usage in practice. –  Faheem Mitha Mar 17 '11 at 6:24
@FaheemMitha: I didn't even think that far. –  Tshepang Mar 17 '11 at 6:47
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