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I remember vaguely Roland telling me that LDView bases it's "File > Check for Library Updates" download on the .TXTs in the "models" folder. Could this be confirmed? What will happen if I rip off that folder from the library?

To the best of my knowledge, neither the latest official release nor the beta release does that. It did that in the past, and then it broke. It now scans every file in the LDraw Parts folder to determine what the most recent update is.
If I understand this corretly, LDView assumes that all files from an update are installed if one from that update is found.
Furthermore it assumes that all updates are made and also that they are made in the correct order.
I am right ?

If I am right, the only chance to be sure to have a complete correct library is to download the complete.zip freshly.
Also I am right ?
There are several steps on the Parts Update creation process that have sought to provide release information for this in the past. Are all these elements still needed?

- create a dummy lcad<YYRR>.exe in http://www.ldraw.org/library/updates/ - just an empty file nowadays, but my notes indicate that this is for LDView

- rebuild a list of distribution file stats accessible with http://www.ldraw.org/cgi-bin/ptreleases.cgi as text or XML. See here for the available parameters

- update a small SSI file at http://www.ldraw.org/includes/update.ssi - I assume this was for an older version of the LDraw website, rather thaan LDView

- until update 2009-03 inclusion of a Note<YYRR>.txt file and since update 2008-01 a Note<YYRR>CA.txt file in the ldraw/models folder
LDView scans all the *.dat files in the parts and p directories. It then looks for official release info like the following:

0 !LDRAW_ORG Part UPDATE 2004-03

It then takes the last part from the above (2004-03 in this case), and keeps track of the greatest one of those that it finds. It then uses that as its indicator of the current LDraw release installed.

If you mess up your parts directory and install an update manually when you don't have an accurate version of the previous release already there, then LDView isn't going to fix it for you. It pre-supposes that you stared out with a good release (complete), and then applied updates either via LDView, or correctly via some other means.

I want to state that I consider this to be pedantically correct behavior. To the best of my knowledge, the only way to verify that you have all the parts in a given release is to install that release's complete file. If you mess up the contents of your LDraw directory, you need to either fix it yourself, or delete it and let LDView start over. If you use LDView to install the parts in the first place, and then do all your updating via LDView, you will never run into any problems, unless a broken release is posted as official on ldraw.org (which to the best of my knowledge has never happened).
Thank you very much for clearification.
That's all I wanted to know, thanks. I'm not gonna add the model folder with the release notes to the AIOI.