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comment How do I get a list of packages that “Provides” something" using dpkg?
Ah. Further inspection shows that aptitude's search will match substrings in the Provides: field (thus picking up deutex), where the apt-cache showpkg method uses exact package names. Both, therefore, presumably have their place.
comment How do I get a list of packages that “Provides” something" using dpkg?
Ooh, good shout on sort -u. Didn't know that one. I wonder why it doesn't pick up doom-wad-editor...? That's particularly interesting since apt-cache showpkg shows it as having no depends at all.
comment URL rewriting- Usage of same DNS for new Server
Your question is not entirely clear. You can use the same hostname, though having two boxes with the same hostname up on the network simultaneously is likely to cause problems. You can't use the same IP address for two boxes simultaneously without conflicts, but you can put the new box up on the old box's IP when you take the old box down. Your DNS server shouldn't be affected by the server switch unless the server being replaced is your network's DNS server.
comment Distributed cron
Rather than a web-server, why not give them SSH keys for a restricted account on another machine (to enable automatic login), and use rsync? That would avoid man-in-the-middle attacks on the updated crontab, and also enable the various servers to download only the changes in the crontab.