Alpha, beta, ....

sktsee sktsee at
Sat May 3 21:17:12 UTC 2008

On Sun, 2008-05-04 at 02:18 +0800, Sandy Harris wrote: 
> Is there a way to find out which pieces of 8.04 are
> in what state? Alpha, beta, whatever? Seems to
> me we need one.
> Searching in the add/remove panel for "alpha" gets
> a dozen or so hits, "beta" only two. Searching in
> Synaptic gets several dozen for each. I suspect
> neither search gives a really goo answer; there are
> both false positives and false negatives.

Cut-n-paste the following line in a terminal: (watch for line wrap)

aptitude search "~V\~~alpha|~V\~~beta|~V\~~pre|~V\~~rc|~Vsvn|~Vcvs|~Vgit|~Vsnap|~Vrel" -F %0p%V#

That will list every package that is either an alpha, beta, pre-release,
release candidate, release version, or svn, cvs, or git snapshot
available in every repository you have enabled. What's not listed are
any 0.x releases and any package version that contains "build" or "dfsg"
since I think those are specific to Debian packaging building rather
than the actual software version. I could be wrong on that though.

To narrow the results down to what you have installed, just put a "~i"
in front of the string like so: "~i~V\~~alp..."

> Firefox 3.x is a beta, but easily replaced with the
> current 2.x stable release, via Synaptic.
> People have reported problems with gnash. My
> add/remove app says my 8.04 has an Alpha of
> that, but .
> says a beta came out in March. If I installed
> gnash and id ugrades, would I get the beta? How
> would I know that, short of "try it and see"?.

IIRC, generally version upgrades are not available unless there are some
compelling fixes or enhancements that justify the upgrade and will not
break any dependencies of other packages.  Most of the time, packages
are updated because of security concerns, but even then, the package
usually isn't upgraded to the new version, but rather security patches
are backported to the original installed version. Since gnash is in the
universe repository, I don't think that it will be upgraded to the beta
version unless the package maintainer pushes it. If it's upgraded at
all, it will most likely appear in either the official backports
repository, or a 3rd party one.

However, if the gnash package in the universe repository is upgraded to
a newer version, it will be listed in update-manager like any other


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