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Thread: The #1 Ubuntu Bug - Packages Are Not Current

  1. #1
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    The #1 Ubuntu Bug - Packages Are Not Current

    Hello all,

    I have a bit of a complaint here... Please note that I am a long-time Ubuntu user, I have been registered here for years and I have used every version of Ubuntu since Warty. Ubuntu has so many advantages over other distros that I really don't want to switch. However, I am becoming increasingly frustrated with Ubuntu's packaging policies.

    Basically, Ubuntu does not update their packages until the next version six months later, unless the upgrade is a major security fix. And even in that case, they have been known to ONLY port the security fix, and leave out any new features. This is even the case with "universe" repositories, which are supposedly unsupported anyway. And the backports repos are not a solution either, since they have very restrictive policies for backports, and I personally have never found updates that I need in backports. It seems to me that they should stop doubting the creators of the software, and simply include the updates, since the creator probably knows better than Ubuntu what the bugs are in his own software. By reviewing and submitting programs to a long review process, it seems that Ubuntu is just adding another level of complexity to an already complicated system. The result of all this is that when a major program releases a big update two days after a new version of Ubuntu, the Ubuntu users have to wait six months to get it. Why should it be necessary to upgrade an entire operating system just to update a program to the next version?

    Here's a few examples:

    OpenOffice
    http://packages.ubuntu.com/search?ke...ll&section=all
    Current Official Version: 2.4.0
    Gutsy Version: 2.3.0
    Result: Gutsy users are missing out on both 2.3.1 and 2.4.0, and have to upgrade their entire system to Hardy just to upgrade their office suite.

    VLC
    http://packages.ubuntu.com/search?ke...ll&section=all
    Current Official Version: 0.8.6g
    Gutsy Version: 0.8.6c
    Hardy Version: 0.8.6e
    Result: Gutsy users miss out entirely on .d .e .f and .g releases. Hardy users miss out on .f and .g releases, and will have to wait until Intrepid to get a newer version

    Lyx
    http://packages.ubuntu.com/search?ke...ll&section=all
    Current Official Version: 1.5.5
    Gutsy Version: 1.5.3
    Hardy Version: 1.5.3
    Result: Gutsy users miss out on 1.5.4 and 1.5.5. Hardy users are also stuck on 1.5.3 for no reason, and will have to hope that this gets noticed six months later for Intrepid.

    See what I mean? And if you want, compare these stats with the package listings at http://rpm.pbone.net/ , and you will find that Mandriva, SUSE, and Fedora generally have up to date packages within days of a new release from the program creator.

    So, the point of this post is to ask: "What is the solution"? Is anyone working on some big community repository, like PLF for Mandriva or Packman for SUSE? Or will Ubuntu ever officially address this? Or am I the only one who has noticed this?

    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
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    Re: The #1 Ubuntu Bug - Packages Are Not Current

    btw: That's not the #1 bug...
    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/1

    You can always get updates from the sites, but I agree that this is a weak point.
    Registered Linux User: 453202 Registered Ubuntu User:17339
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  3. #3
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    Re: The #1 Ubuntu Bug - Packages Are Not Current

    Quote Originally Posted by Het Irv View Post
    btw: That's not the #1 bug...
    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/1

    You can always get updates from the sites, but I agree that this is a weak point.
    Ha, I knew somebody was going to call me on this one.

  4. #4
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    Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope (testing)

    Re: The #1 Ubuntu Bug - Packages Are Not Current

    I can understand why they do this for the LTS releases, they want it to be as stable as possible. But I think they should definitely do this for the non-LTS releases. I'd have probably stayed with Gutsy if I knew all of my programs would be updated right when the updates were available.
    I would rather die of thirst than drink from the cup of mediocrity.

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  5. #5
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    Re: The #1 Ubuntu Bug - Packages Are Not Current

    I don't know, the thing is that most of the program updates actually improve stability.

  6. #6
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    Re: The #1 Ubuntu Bug - Packages Are Not Current

    Yeah, but you never know if the build will be stable for Ubuntu. I think it is done mainly because of the work involved in checking each version for stability.
    Registered Linux User: 453202 Registered Ubuntu User:17339
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  7. #7
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    Re: The #1 Ubuntu Bug - Packages Are Not Current

    Please see this wiki entry to gain an understanding of Ubuntu's update policy for stable releases.

    Basically, once a release is stable, packages are only updated for security fixes and major bugs. Packages aren't updated for minor updates or feature enhancements - these go in to the latest development release. This is in order to maintain stability of the stable releases, and is a good policy.

    If there are must-have features in a particular package, then you can request to have that package backported, if you can justify it (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuBackports
    Last edited by chrisccoulson; May 13th, 2008 at 08:11 PM.

  8. #8
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    Re: The #1 Ubuntu Bug - Packages Are Not Current

    Quote Originally Posted by chrisccoulson View Post
    Please see this wiki entry to gain an understanding of Ubuntu's update policy for stable releases.

    Basically, once a release is stable, packages are only updated for security fixes and major bugs. Packages aren't updated for minor updates or feature enhancements - these go in to the latest development release. This is in order to maintain stability of the stable releases, and is a good policy.

    If there are must-have features in a particular package, then you can request to have that package backported, if you can justify it (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuBackports
    Thanks for the reply. I am aware of this policy, which is why I think we need 3rd party repositories that contain current software.

  9. #9

    Re: The #1 Ubuntu Bug - Packages Are Not Current

    its a matter of choice, its either up to date or its rock stable for years to come.

    although Ubuntu is not a 100% strict on the patch only idea it is pretty close.

    i must say that some more work could have been done making available backports for LTS releases, dapper had very very little indeed.

    the beauty of Linux is that so many volunteers are working very hard to make something for others, the downside is that if you demand that more is being done you would have to share the burden.

    i intend to start working on some backports for Hardy myself and hope others join in since i will be sticking with this one for the next 3 years.

    what are you waiting for?

  10. #10
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    Re: The #1 Ubuntu Bug - Packages Are Not Current

    Quote Originally Posted by songshu View Post
    what are you waiting for?
    I am too dumb, and my internet connection is too slow and unreliable to be fiddling around with source package downloads and deb uploads.

    I agree that not all parts of the system should be upgraded on a rolling basis. For example, the Gnome environment, the kernel, CUPS, libstdc++, can generally go six months. But there is no reason why I should have to wait six months and THEN on top of that upgrade my entire system just to upgrade my office suite or my media player.
    Last edited by sb73542; May 13th, 2008 at 08:55 PM.

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