aptly 0.6

aptly 0.6 has been released on June, 7th. It is available for download as binary executables or from Debian repository:

deb http://repo.aptly.info/ squeeze main

When installing from repository, don't forget to import key used to sign the release:

$ gpg --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv-keys 2A194991
$ gpg -a --export 2A194991 | sudo apt-key add -

Most important new features are:

Multi-Component Repository Publishing

aptly is based on concept of list of packages. Snapshots, mirrors and local repositories are list of packages (more precisely, list of references to packages). When merging, pulling, copying or moving packages might move from one list into another. Component is a way to break down packages into groups, usually these groups make sense only in published repository. At the same time mapping from package to component is not universal, there's Debian way to group packages into main, contrib and non-free components, Ubuntu uses different schema of components, some 3rd party repositories use components in place of different distributions (like squeeze, wheezy etc.) or to separate stable and testing versions of software.

In order to keep aptly simple, I decided that there's no mapping from package to component and package lists internally aren't split by component. Each list (snapshot, mirror and local repository) is mono-component (actually there's no component at all). When publishing repository, several lists could be published as separate components.

By default, aptly mirrors all components from remote repository and merges them into one "single component". If we'd like to preserve package split by components, individual mirrors should be created for each component:

aptly mirror create wheezy-main http://ftp.ru.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main
aptly mirror create wheezy-contrib http://ftp.ru.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main
aptly mirror create wheezy-non-free http://ftp.ru.debian.org/debian/ wheezy non-free

aptly mirror list -raw | xargs -n 1 aptly mirror update

We can create snapshots from each of the mirrors:

aptly snapshot create wheezy-main-7.5 from mirror wheezy-main
aptly snapshot create wheezy-contrib-7.5 from mirror wheezy-contrib
aptly snapshot create wheezy-non-free-7.5 from mirror wheezy-non-free

And publish all snapshots as single repository preserving component structure (publishing distribution wheezy under prefix upstream):

aptly publish snapshot -component=main,contrib,non-free -distribution=wheezy wheezy-main-7.5 wheezy-contrib-7.5 wheezy-non-free-7.5  upstream

aptly is smart enough to figure out component names and distribution from the mirrors, so I can omit them (commas left to identify number of components):

aptly publish snapshot -component=,, wheezy-main-7.5 wheezy-contrib-7.5 wheezy-non-free-7.5 upstream

Of course we could do all regular aptly operations: merging snapshots, pulling packages, etc.

Handling Package Conflicts

Package in Debian universe is identified by triple (architecture, name, version). If two packages have the same (architecture, name, version) but different content, they are called conflicting packages. Debian guidelines prohibit including conflicting packages in repositories that could be used together (which could be present in one apt.sources file). Unfortunately, in real word there are conflicting packages, one such package has been reported in squeeze + security updates, another example was puppet repository which contains packages with the same triple but for different Debian distributions in several components.

Before 0.6, aptly would complain when it detects such conflicts and stop processing. In this version special handling has been added that considers packages with same (architecture, name, version) and different files as different package entires. There's one restriction though: you can't put packages with duplicate (architecture, name, version) into one list (one mirror, snapshot, local repo, published repository). This is in line with Debian guidelines that one repository shouldn't contain duplicate packages.

This feature works transparently when upgrading from older versions of aptly: conflicts would be just gone. In the background aptly would be updating references to packages when you update mirrors, create new snapshots, etc.

Empty Repository Publishing

Many people are using aptly to handle package repository from various automation tools, e.g. configuration management systems. For such usage it is convenient to create local repository (empty initially), publish it, and then add packages and update published repository.

Before 0.6, aptly would refuse to publish empty repositories. Now this is possible, but correct architecture list should be supplied when publishing (as aptly can't figure out architecture list automatically from package list). List of architectures can't be changed when published repository is updated, you would have drop published repository and create new one if required.

Merging Snapshots: 3rd Strategy

There's a feature in aptly that allows to merge two snapshots: this is useful to combine for example main repository and security updates or main repository and 3rd-party repository. With 0.6, three merge strategies are available:

  • for packages with same (architecture, name) package which comes from latest snapshot on the command line wins (default);
  • for packages with same (architecture, name) package with latest version wins (-latest);
  • all versions of packages are preserved (-no-remove, new in 0.6).

All Changes

Full list of changes in 0.6:

  • support for multi-component published repositories (#36)
  • handling duplicate packages with different content gracefully (#60)
  • repositories published by aptly now can be consumed by debian-installer (#61)
  • new flag: -no-remove for aptly snapshot merge to merge snapshots with all package versions preserved (#57)
  • publishing of empty snapshots/repositories is possible (#55)
  • aptly repo add now exists with 1 if any of files failed to add (#53)
  • bug fix: Package: line comes first in package metadata (#49)
  • bug fix: when command parsing fails, aptly returns exit code 2 (#52)
  • bug fix: pulling more than 128 packates at once (#53)
  • bug fix: aptly graph may get confused with package pull requests (#58)


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