Hi apeiro, do you remember, when I asked you why pacman would not run in two instances at the same time, you said that it's a security option? I thought about that, and have a suggestion: can you just cut some version-checking source from pacman and make a little programm that would be able to display a version of some package, while doing something like, for example: pacman -Syu ? This seems to me to be the easiest variant, but maybe you could make pacman able to check version of packages, while it's doing some other jobs.
Just an Idea
pacman 2.5 now allows to have several simultaneous read access and still one write access to the db: so querying is now possible during an upgrade.
I know this feature was already mentionned in the news section, but this is to shorten the list of "unanswered" posts on the forum.