gdebi / python-apt backport

Michael Vogt michael.vogt at
Mon Nov 28 11:01:37 GMT 2005

Hi John,

On Fri, Nov 25, 2005 at 07:51:16PM -0500, John Dong wrote:
> Users have expressed interest for a backport of the wonderful gdebi, which I
> would like to see also. It's the one missing link in easy software installs
> for Ubuntu.

Thanks for your interesst in backporting gdebi.  
> I noticed its recent upload into Dapper, and built a test package of
> it.

If you backport it now, please note that it has pretty bad error
reporting when it downloads the required dependencies. If a download
fails for some reason, it will only report "error". That's pretty
sucky but will be fixed soon. So it may be a idea to wait for the next
python-apt/gdebi upload.

> However, it doesn't install on Breezy because python-apt dependency versions
> could not be satisfied... So here's the thing:
> (1) Does gdebi really need the latest version of python-apt?

gdebi needs three updated packages from dapper: gksu, python-apt and

For gksu you can easily work around that by changing the call to
"gksudo -- " into a commandline that the version from breezy
understands. My advice would be to use bzr and branch from my
repository at to make
it easy for you to maintain the required patch.

libvte/python-vte is required to make pass filedescriptor information
from libapt to gdebi. Without this patch the progressbar when
installing dependencies will not work.

python-apt is required as well, but it shouldn't break anything (but
please test it with update-manager and gnome-app-install first :). It
just adds some new classes and interfaces to bits that wheren't export
before. I need to rewrite one interface to better support error
handling during the dependency install (see above). 

> (2) Would packaging a backport of python-apt break compatibility with any
> existing packages? In theory, the situation should be safer with Python
> modules, but I don't want to take any chances... Looking at the apt-cache
> rdepends list, prominently update-* use this library.

See above, it's probably a good idea to make a test-repostiory
available for the people in the forums before pushing it into the
"offical" breezy-backports repository. 

It would also be nice if people would tell me about problems they have
with gdebi. If anything breaks or behaves strange I would like to know
about it. gdebi is pretty new and also I try to be very careful not to
break the apt cache but you never know.


Linux is not The Answer. Yes is the answer. Linux is The Question. - Neo

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