I occasionally need to make minor source modifications to standard Ubuntu packages for use on a collection of servers that I manage. I would like to publish these on a PPA (such as launchpad.net) so that I can install and keep them up to date through all of the usual mechanisms (unattended-upgrades, e.g.). What is the proper way to guarantee that a given package on my PPA will supersede any official release? This does not appear to be a job for holding or pinning, as I essentially want to branch the release sequence, not include or exclude specific versions. With my limited knowledge, I can speculate on a few possible directions.
The most correct option would be to somehow instruct apt to ignore a particular package in the official repositories, as if it never existed. I haven't found this kind of fine-grained control in apt.
Option two is to manipulate the version number such that my package is guaranteed to have a higher version than any official release. Would this be possible--at least with a very high probability--by abusing the epoch component of the version number? And how much private shame would I have to endure?
The least appealing option is to rename existing packages with a private suffix (libfoo-mycompany) to make them completely independent. Due to the strong naming conventions used by the Debian package manager, this can be a trying exercise for non-trivial packages. This is what I'm trying to avoid.
Option four is the obvious solution that I completely overlooked, even after hours of searching through documentation, and which someone here is dying to point out.