The APT development team, through Julian Andres Klode, has announced that APT 1.3 is now open for development, seeding the first milestone to the experimental channel for public testing.

APT (Advanced Package Tool) is the command-line (CLI) package manager used by default in the well-known Debian GNU/Linux operating system, and inherited by any Debian derivative out there, including the popular Ubuntu and Linux Mint distributions.

The development process of APT is pretty strange when viewed from outside, as the 1.0 branch is now considered the stable version of the software, but many distros, including the recently released Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), are using a build from the 1.2 series, which now sits in the unstable or testing channels.

Therefore, the development cycle of the next major branch, APT 1.3, is happening on the experimental channel, which in time will be slowly pushed to unstable/testing, and even the stable channel. The first milestone, apt 1.3~exp1 was released a couple of days ago bringing some major new features.

Here’s what’s coming to ATP 1.3

Among these, we can mention support for multiple fingerprints in Signed-By, the ability to use the same redirection mirror for all index files, proper formatting of multiline error messages, and the use of the EXPKEYSIG variable instead of KEYEXPIRED for gpgv (GNU Privacy Guard).

Other noteworthy changes are deprecation of the confusing Pkg.CandVersion() method, Signed-By support in Release files in the form of HTTP Public Key Pinning (HPKP), Fallback-Of and Identifier field implementation for IndexTargets, as well as support for generic and solver-specific configurations for the edsp interface.

Additionally, Post-Invoke-Success will now be executed when not all sources have failed, apt-ftparchive received support for writing Signed-By fields, < multivalue >-{Add,Remove} support has been restored for the deb822 module, and APT will now warn users if the apt-key command is run unconditionally in maintainerscript.

Of course, there are numerous small yet essential under-the-hood improvements that will make a big difference when migrating from APT 1.2 or a previous branch. The entire changelog for the APT 1.3 exp1 release has been attached below for our tech-savvy readers, and in the meantime, you can download the sources right here if you want to take it for a test drive.

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