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       apt-forktracer - a utility for managing package versions


       apt-forktracer [ -v ]


       Maintaining  Debian  stable  systems sometimes requires installation of
       unofficial versions of packages:

       backporting newer versions
              This  is  necessary,  when  significant  new  functionality   is
              required  on  the system but unavailable in the official version
              found in the current stable release. In this case,  the  version
              string  usually  sorts as newer than the official stable version
              string. This means that pinning is not necessary,  as  APT  will
              select such package version by default.

       local changes to the official version
              Usually  these are small changes, so a minor modification of the
              package version string is sufficient. There are two ways  to  do

              Try  to  invent a version string newer than the current one, but
              older than the next official one.  This  way  does  not  require
              pinning,  but  is  difficult to do reliably.  It might turn out,
              that the next official version string  is  older  than  the  one
              invented  by  you,  which would cause the official version to be
              silently ignored.

              The other way is to modify the version string in such  way  that
              it sorts as older than the official one.  The tilde character is
              very useful here, because dpkg treats it in a special way: it is
              sufficient  to append any string starting with the tilde, to the
              version string, e.g.  1.21.2~sl.1.   This  requires  you  to
              "pin"  the  package  to  that  version, but it is more reliable,
              because works regardless  of  what  the  next  official  version
              number will be.

       In  both cases, there is one major drawback: APT will not warn you when
       newer versions of official packages (point releases, security  updates)
       will  appear  in  the  stable  release.   This  means you may miss some
       important change.

       apt-forktracer’s job let you track newer official versions  of  locally
       overridden packages.

   Official package version definition
       Official package version is a version which is available from a source,
       whose Release file’s  Origin  header  value  is  equal  to  the  system
       distributor  identifier,  as indicated by the lsb_release --id command,
       or by the DISTRIB_ID field in the /etc/lsb-release file.

   Program operation
       apt-forktracer analyzes each installed package separately, reporting on
       the standard output these packages which are in a "non-standard" state.
       What "non-standard" means depends on the mode of program operation:

       default (non-verbose) mode
              this state  means  packages  in  an  incorrect  state  (e.g.  no
              candidate  version)  or  packages  whose  candidate  version  is
              different than the newest available official version.

       verbose mode
              this state also includes packages  whose  installed  version  is
              different from the candidate version

       In  the  default mode the program also reads configuration files, which
       let you ignore some of the "non-standard" packages,  as  long  as  they
       meet  certain  criteria.   If  there  is  no  configuration for a given
       package, then a default configuration is  used.   More  information  is
       available in forktracer.conf(5).

   Message format
       The program outputs messages such as the following:

           foobar (1.2.3->1.2.4) [Debian: 1.2.3 1.2.4] [Other origin: 1.2.2]


       foobar package name

       1.2.3  installed package version

       1.2.4  candidate package version - see apt-cache(8).

       Debian the  value  of the "Origin" field of one of the package sources.
              Versions available from this source are listed after a colon.

       Other origin
              another source origin


       -v     Turns on the verbose mode.




       forktracer.conf(5), apt_preferences(5), apt-cache(8).