Semi-custom Debian distribution - how to best go about it?

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Semi-custom Debian distribution - how to best go about it?

Postby RipNRun » 2016-04-22 14:53

Hi All. I've got a general "where to start" question on customizing a Debian distribution.

I have a very customized setup with kernel and select package tweaks/patches running on many different machines. I need to develop a way that's less cumbersome than manually manging each machine to ensure that these patched packages and kernels are installed and to make sure that their unpatched versions from the standard repositories are not installed.

I've been doing this with holds on individual machines thus far - manually updating a single machine, and then customizing every machine based on what I've found (ie, building patches separately on each machine, managing each machine's holds, not installing something from Testing if it breaks the guinea pig machine, etc). I need to automate this process such that I could add a custom repository with patched software as needed and avoid the machine downloading anything from the official repositories that will break it. That way, say monthly, I can test and upgrade all machines confidently in an automated fashion.

I'm assuming the best way to do this is to set up a partial mirror and apt-pin software package versions, but that doesn't seem like a scalable solution long term. Any thoughts on the best way to approach this?

Thanks,
Rip
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Re: Semi-custom Debian distribution - how to best go about i

Postby stevepusser » 2016-04-22 18:39

Give your patched versions a higher epoch in debian/changelog, so if the normal Debian version is

Code: Select all
foo (1.2.3-1)


make your patched version
Code: Select all
foo (1:1.2.3-1)
"1:" is the epoch. That's what it's meant for, and they'll always be seen as higher than the version with a lower or no epoch.
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Re: Semi-custom Debian distribution - how to best go about i

Postby RipNRun » 2016-04-23 14:46

Thanks, stevepusser. That seems straightforward enough. Much appreciated.

Rip
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