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rpm and patching

Suppose you're creating a commercial product for Linux, and
want a system of releasing patches.  What's the preferred method?

I was happy to see 'rpm -U/-F' but it doesn't quite do what
I want.  I want to be able to make an rpm patch that's sparsely
populated to only replace objects that need patching, not the
entire product.  I realize that rpm -U/-F will only replace
what's changed, but why pack up what the customer doesn't need?
(And of course it will remove all the files that it doesn't contain
assuming its got the same base name.)

The alternative is to name the patch package something different,
say have foo1.0.0-1 for the product and foopatch1.0.0-1 for
the patch train.  And just let the customer run rpm -i on each
as its released.  But that means removal of a series of of these
things upon a major upgrade -- kind of messy.

Am I missing something, or does rpm not deal with sparse (binary)
patches very well?

-- brandon

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