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=== Section descriptions ===

Various packages [[https://lists.debian.org/20150511143710.GA28568@gaara.hadrons.org|hardcode]] section descriptions.

Extending Debian repos

We want (761348) to enable:

  • Automatic enumeration of suites for a repository
  • Automatic enumeration of repositories for a distro

This page is for exploring the existing solutions, existing hardcoding and requirements for services.

Existing solutions


Has the same problems as hardcoding elsewhere but better than hardcoding in lots of places.






Has a configuration file listing all suites with metadata about all of them.

Existing hardcoding


Name of all suites in the archive, with explicit mappings from "symbolic" names (stable, testing, ...) to "absolute" names (wheezy, jessie, ...). Bonus point: metadata about both current and past releases (on archive.d.o), such as when the releases happened, their version numbers, etc.

Ideally, the above info should be available for all archives, and in particular also for the security archive. Bonus point: having a single central place that gather together information from all relevant archives (the main one, security, what else?).


Encodes codename combinations like squeeze2bpo2wheezy in a configuration file.


Has hostgroups for each Debian release that is currently in use.


www.d.o apache2 config hard-codes codename/version mapping and arch association mapping.


  • bin/gen-DSA: hard-codes mappings from oldstable/stable/testing to codenames.
  • security-tracker code: cf. 783491


Has architectures, sections hard-coded, including non-US.


english/releases/*/release.data has architectures, install manual languages and release notes languages.

webwml/english/releases/Makefile, english/Bugs/pkgreport-opts.inc and */Bugs/Developer.wml have lists of releases.


Hardcodes various info about the releases.


Hardcoded release name, symbolic name references, architectures, and sorting of releases. Also information about what a partial release (like -updates and -security) does sort-of overlay.




Hardcodes the names of backports suites.


Hardcodes the list of all official and unofficial architecture Debian names.


Hardcodes Ubuntu release names.

Section descriptions

Various packages hardcode section descriptions.



Want squeeze2bpo2wheezy to not be magically deleted just because jessie became stable. When new stable releases are done, new piuparts suites (like wheezy2bpo2jessie) should be created, not old ones reused.

Single source of data

For some purposes it would be interesting to have a single source of all metadata (on a per-repo basis and also on a global distro-wide basis) so that full apt metadata doesn't need to be downloaded if it isn't needed. This could also be easier to parse in some cases.

Know which suites are partial

Knowing what suites are "partial" (i.e. don't have a full set of packages) and what parent suite they are associated with (to get the remaining packages) is important for example to be able to do proper dependency analysis on a partial suite by trying to look up missing packages in the parent suite.

Know the order of suites

packages.d.o, sources.d.n etc need to know what order to display suites in.

Know the activity status of suites

sources.d.n etc need to know if suites will ever be updated again.