If the replacements are also configuration files, there are twice as many cases of package installation states to deal with, and no preinst or postrm scripts to execute any logic to handle the additional cases.
conffiles are listed in /var/lib/dpkg/info/*.conffiles for each package.
First let me say that there is a several ways to doing things on SL.
I am not saying that my way is the best way by any means.
This avoids making the replacement file also a conffile.
The whole process is described in detail in the Gentoo Linux Handbook.Portage is a true ports (package management) system used by Gentoo Linux in the tradition of BSD ports, but is Python-based and has a number of advanced features including dependencies, fine-grained package management, fake (Open BSD-style) installs, path sand boxing, safe un-merging, system profiles, virtual packages, configuration file management, and more.Portage lets you install software packages easy as pie. emerge is the definitive command-line interface to the Portage system.This is time consuming, but not much harder than following a cookie recipe.You compile all desired software optimized for your system.Besides, that oral history tradition is difficult to maintain and harder to sustain as the number of machines grows.