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At the risk of causing a matter vs. antimatter paradox that would end the world as we know it ... Is it possible to host a Debian repository on a Windows server?

We have some applications which are available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Our web site, from where the application can be downloaded, is a Windows Server 2008 box running IIS 7. That is not going to change, and I would like to avoid having to purchase another server and/or domain.

I would like to take advantage of the Debian packaging system so that I can just instruct users to add our repository to their software sources, and then they can install, get updates, resolve dependencies (some of which are not yet in the stable/main distributions of my target platforms), etc.

The instructions I can find on the internet require linux-specific tools to create a local repository, but are unclear as to whether or not that can be copied to an FTP site as is, or if it requires some local daemons to be running or something.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Dec 31 '10 at 13:01

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3 Answers 3

Because debian (and I suspect all apt) repositories use some symlinks and windows filesystems do not, I advise against this due to how much your repository may expand - though I don't see why it wouldn't be possible. It may result in an increase in the size of your repo mirror compared to the the upstream mirror because symlinking is used to reduce duplicates within the mirror.

I would use rsync on windows to create and maintain the mirror. More info Is available here http://www.debian.org/mirror/ftpmirror

If your going to be asking users to add your repo to their sources you should be aware of the security implications to the user and perhaps note apt pinning as a way of mitigating that.

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Nothing special is needed on the server, as long as you have a box to create the index files and some way to sync the files over from that machine to the HTTP/FTP server.

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file names

Another issue with IIS servers is that they do not feel at ease with linux file names. Here are 2 problems you will have to address for sure

  1. Several file extensions used on linux systems are not known in the default mime set of IIS. Typically, we talk about .img, .rpm, .deb. The default behaviour of IIS is to refuse the data if the mime type is unknown.
  2. Some file name components on linux conflict with IIS. Typically, the plus sign is not allowed in a URL as it may help hackers with SQL injection code etc. Linux however has packages with have such signs in their names, like the gcc-c++ compiler. If you do not explicitly allow this in IIS, you will get a failure.

Conclusion: try to avoid such configuration if possible. But if it is really needed, there are ways to do it. I'm finishing an installation of an (older) Fedora image from an IIS 7.5 (fully automated install).

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