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This is an (incomplete) list of currently provided APIs by dpkg, and
their supported status.
What: libdpkg.a (C static library)
Status: volatile
The API provided by this library is highly volatile, still in the process
of being cleaned up. It's only supposed to be used internally by dpkg for
now. Header files, functions, variables and types might get renamed,
removed or change semantics. If you still have a need to use it, which
you'd be doing anyway, say by locally building dpkg to get the library,
then define the C preprocessor macro LIBDPKG_VOLATILE_API in your build
to acknowledge that fact.
What: libdpkg-perl (perl modules)
Status: stable
Among the perl modules provided by libdpkg-perl, you can safely rely on
those that have $VERSION set to 1.00 (or higher). Note however that the
API is defined by what's documented in the corresponding manual pages and
nothing more. You can't assume anything else based on what you read in
the source code. If you feel the need for further refinements in the
documented API, don't hesitate to file a wishlist bug against
In case of API-breaking changes, the major number in $VERSION will be
increased. For API extensions, the minor number will be increased.
What: custom changelog parsers in /usr/lib/dpkg/parsechangelog
Status: stable
Version: 2.0
Since dpkg 1.14.16, the set of command line options that custom
changelog parsers must support has been expanded (see
dpkg-parsechangelog(1)). For compatibility, changelog parsers supporting
only the old options are supported in lenny. In lenny+1, that support
will be dropped.
For reference, only the -v option was supported in version 1.0 of this