Repository, distro, component, section, area, WTF?

Consider this snippet from /etc/apt/sources.list:

  deb lucid-security2  main3 restricted3

1 Is the name (and URL) of the repository


lucid-security Is the codename of the distro in reprepro parlance (according to reprepro manual). The Debian releases thus are distros in repository context.


main and restricted are components according to reprepro. But the Debian Policy Manual calls them archive areas, but acknowledges the use of the term component in internal documentation.

user#host:~$ apt-cache show reprepro

Now also consider this example .deb control file:

Source: lwp-utils
Section: misc
Priority: extra
Maintainer: Jurjen Bokma <>
Build-Depends: debhelper (>= 7)
Standards-Version: 3.8.0

Package: lwp-utils
Architecture: all
Depends: ${shlibs:Depends}, ${misc:Depends}, ncpfs, ldap-utils
Description: various utilities particular to the RuG Linux
<snip long description>

Note that neither distro nor component are specified, but architecture is. Also note that in the below unzipped changelog.gz snippet that the distro is specified, although not directly by its codename but by its suite alias.

-- Joey Hess <>  Thu,  1 Jan 2004 21:49:21 -0500

debconf (1.4.2) unstable1; urgency=low

 * Deal better with hostname -f during debootstrap.

-- Joey Hess <>  Tue, 30 Dec 2003 15:36:48 -0500


unstable is what the Reprepro manual calls a suite, and alias for a codename