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I'm trying to pin some packages from a specific subsection (gnome in this case) in Debian jessie. For subsection I mean: gnome, admin, x11, etc… This value is showed by apt-cache in the 'Section' field for any package.

There are a lot of example about use apt pinning based on origin (the 'o' parameter), label ('l'), release ('a'), etc... but none of them shows how to pin a subsection.

For reference, this is the most common example:

Package: *
Pin: release a=experimental
Pin-Priority: 450

Some other examples use wildcards on the Package line, but I'm not interested in pinning 'gnome*' packages since there are other packages in the gnome section that doesn't match that expression (see this link for the list)

What I'm want is something like this:

Package: *
Pin: release o=Debian,a=experimental,x=gnome
Pin-Priority: 450

I'm looking for that 'x' parameter which 'filters' by subsection, but I don't know its name or even if it exists. The documentation about apt-pinning, as many of you may already know, it's very imprecise and incomplete.

  • but none of them shows how to pin a subsection - AFAIK it simply isn't possible. This is such an obscure thing, you may be better off asking on the official Debian mail lists. – Zoredache Nov 15 '13 at 18:57
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It's (currently) not possible.

You can pin to either package names or anything in the output of apt-cache policy (without further parameter), e.g.

 600 http://ftp.ch.debian.org/debian/ testing/main amd64 Packages
     release o=Debian,a=testing,n=jessie,l=Debian,c=main
     origin ftp.ch.debian.org

So you can pin to the release's origin (o), the archive/suite name (a), the codename (n), the label (l), the component (c) or the origin's hostname. This basically means you can pin per Packages list, but not to subsets of packages in one Packages list (except for package names of course).

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