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Debhelper compat levels


I just did a very annoying backport. The reason it was annoying was that
two of the packages involved specified a debhelper compat level of 11.

So in order to do the backport, I first had to get debhelper 11 (or 12).

The debhelper 12 package itself has a compat level of 12, which means I
couldn't compile it without the package itself being installed. Downgrading
the compat level to 10 and relaxing the build dependencies seems to have
worked, so I had a debhelper 12 package.

This package then depends on dh-autoreconf, which in turn requires
debhelper 11 to build, so I had to again downgrade a compat level and build
dependencies to build.

With that, I could finally do the actual backport.

So if we are pondering whether it would be acceptable to forcibly move
packages to dh: can we also find a way to not break backports in the

 - Should unstable/testing refrain from using any debhelper compat level
   that isn't supported in stable?
 - Should debhelper itself and its dependencies use a debhelper compat
   level that is supported in stable?
 - Do you have a better idea?