The http://packages.ubuntu.com/ site provides great information on packages, with changelogs and much more, but only covers currently supported releases.

The rmadison program (devscripts package) will also give me command-line access to all versions of a package from currently supported releases (nice!):

$ rmadison gnome-mount
gnome-mount | 0.8~svn20080225-0ubuntu4 |         hardy | source, amd64, i386
gnome-mount | 0.8-2ubuntu1 | karmic/universe | source, amd64, i386

But I don't see a way to find e.g. what version was in intrepid, which is no longer supported. I know the intrepid release is available at http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ but I don't want to have to go through each repository by hand.

1 Answer 1


If you have the Packages files from old-releases.ubuntu.com, you can use madison-lite to query them, much as you would use rmadison to query the archive Packages files remotely.

To set this up, mirror http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/*/*/binary-*/* with your favourite mirroring tool. If you also want information about sources, also mirror http://old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/*/*/source

Then set up a configuration file, for example:

mirror /srv/mirror/old-releases/

If you add nothing else to the configuration, it will tell you about every architecture for every release.

To keep this up-to-date, you probably want to have a cron job that updates it somewhere in the beginning of December and June (because sometimes the migration of a release takes a little while).

  • Thanks. Can you give a ballpark estimate for how much storage that requires? Do you know how hard it would be to configure rmadison and existing sites to support this information for old-releases? How about the packages web interface?
    – nealmcb
    Jul 14, 2011 at 14:38
  • hardy+karmic+lucid+maverick+natty+oneiric is about 220MB, so I presume warty+hoary+breezy+dapper+edgy+feisty+gutsy+jaunty is something like 300MB. Mind you, Actually adding all these files may require more real storage space on your disk, as some as as few as 14 bytes in the file, but will require a full allocation unit (often 4096 bytes) on disk. Jul 14, 2011 at 20:37
  • It is unlikely that rmadison will ever provide this information: the rmadison.cgi script runs on a host that currently only has a subset of the archive, and this seems to be sufficient for most users. Rearranging the infrastructure would be a bit harder, and might require special code, which would need to be maintained, etc. Adding it to packages.ubuntu.com is potentially simpler, but similarly unlikely to happen, as few in Ubuntu would have any interest in recommending such older packages to the majority of users. Jul 14, 2011 at 20:39
  • Thanks - that's not so much storage, and great hints for anyone who finds the itch big enough to scratch :)
    – nealmcb
    Jul 15, 2011 at 14:28

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