[sf-lug] jim unsatisfied flurry

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Nov 24 13:12:46 PST 2008

Quoting jim (jim at well.com):

>    the questions seem to have an order at this point: 
> how to get apt-* to work as expected is the first, 
> and others will be deferred until some progress is 
> made on this. 
>    the solution can include changing expectations, 
> but that's more difficult in my case than giving 
> up or solving the problem. 
>    understanding the format of lines in the 
> /etc/apt/sources.list file seems important, and lack 
> of specifics is frustrating. 
>    your link is the most helpful yet: 

Glad to be of service.

> As you may already know, there are two formats for a line in the
> sources.list file:
>   deb $base $distribution $component $component ...
>   deb $base $distribution/
> Note, that trailing slash is required. Yes, there is a bug in the
> manpage.
> """ 

>    i'm still not entirely satisfied: 
>   deb $base $distribution $component $component ...
>   111 2222222222222222222 3333333333 4444444444 ... 

Just in case you missed the fact, in this line format (format #1 of 2),
$base and $distribution are two different fields.  Above, you appear to
parse them as a single field.

Here's an example of format #1 of 2, from my server:

deb ftp://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ unstable main non-free contrib

That parses as:

1 (deb):  deb
2 ($base):  ftp://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/
3 ($distribution):  unstable
4 ($component):  main
4 ($component):  non-free
4 ($component):  contrib

The package toolchain constructs the paths from which the actual
Packages[.gz] files can be fetched, as follows:


Thus, the packages files for the three components in my sources.list
line (above) will be:


The Packages or Packages.gz file thus found is a catalogue that
furnishes the actual (Internet or local) locations of its (many) packages.

> * are there additional possibilities for position 1 

I have heard only of deb and deb-src.  Those need different specifiers
because binary and source "deb" packages have different semantics.

> * tokens in positions 3 and beyond may specify things 
> other than "components" per strict definition of the 
> term (possibly "branches" e.g. main...). 

No.  I think you've mashed two fields together in your head, there. ;->

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