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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 Description: 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 Description: 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 libdpkg-perl. . 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 Description: 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 API.