Announcing prevu: the automatic backporter

John Dong john.dong at
Tue Oct 3 18:22:08 BST 2006

Last week I sat down and did a bit of python coding, and came up with
prevu, an automatic backporter (wrapper around pbuilder, apt-get source,
and pdebuild). The end result is that one types in "prevu packagename",
and the sources are fetched, a version trailer (~6.06prevu1) is added,
and pdebuild is executed. It can also be used without arguments as a
pdebuild frontend, for making source modifications or getting source
packages from other places (totally unsupported :P). Apart from the
latter case, it ends up generating packages that are quite similar to
what dapper-backports would, so it gives users an easy way to roll their
own backports, whether it's to satisfy their need for bleeding edge or
help me test backports. The other thing to note is that prevu builds
against its output packages (much like dapper-backports building against
dapper-backports), so it's theoretically possible to backport enough
that one's prevu outputted debs are no longer reflecting of official
dapper-backports. We'll leave that game as an exercise to the reader...

For users, I've written up a simple howto on the forum (wiki
transcribers are perfectly welcome to adapt it to the wiki, of course):

For the more code-savvy, prevu is on Launchpad
( ) and uses bzr for revision
control. Periodic releases are made as deb packages on sourceforge
project ubuntu-bp (since I have no better hosting option)

Any feedback, suggestions, or help/contributions are greatly

P.S. prevu is backronymed as the Person REcompiling Version Updater. It
was originally just a play off the word "preview", and not off that
other MOTU thing with a similar name and a likely not-amused development
team ready to burn me at the stake!

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