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Why so old software versions using apt-get?

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 3:48 pm
by kolban
As I study, I keep seeing that the versions of installable applications using apt-get are "old" releases. Does anyone know why that might be? I would have imagined that we would have wanted to try and keep the release levels of available software current. While I understand that older releases may have had more testing, the flip side is that newer releases may have bug fixes or features that are equally valuable.

Who maintains the repository of installable applications for the Pi? Is there a process to get a new version of a package added? Is there an alternate repository with later releases? Is there an Open Source or other community project to create a later version repository?

Re: Why so old software versions using apt-get?

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:01 pm
by Fidelius
You could download and install Ubuntu (Mate) 15.10 from here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/

It has got the same application versions as standard desktop Ubuntu 15.10 has, i.e. they're usually newer than Debian including Raspbian.

Re: Why so old software versions using apt-get?

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:23 pm
by Heater
When it comes to operating systems and their components we value functionality, predictability, stability. (Which is why we don't use Ubuntu which tends to be Debian but broken in strange ways).

Raspbian Jessie is based on the Debian Jessie. The stable version of Debian.

What does "stable" mean?

1) Program stability. The programs run without crashing and odd bugs. It's tried and tested.

2) API stability. The programs command line parameters, config files and other interfaces and protocols are not changing with minor bug fixes and version bumps.

3) Version stability. Your OS is not going to updated programs to the latest and greatest all the time thus risking breaking 1) and 2) not to mention breaking any code you have created yourself that relies on the underlying packages.

All this stability takes time to test. After it's tested we'ed like it to remain stable for some time. It's a good system.

Personally, if I ever need some new program version because it has some new feature I need or a show stopping bug fixed then I build it from it's source code. Or install a package from the project maintainers if there is one.

This does not happen so often. No point in chasing the latest and greatest just because it in the latest and greatest.

Re: Why so old software versions using apt-get?

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:33 pm
by fruitoftheloom
kolban wrote:As I study, I keep seeing that the versions of installable applications using apt-get are "old" releases. Does anyone know why that might be? I would have imagined that we would have wanted to try and keep the release levels of available software current. While I understand that older releases may have had more testing, the flip side is that newer releases may have bug fixes or features that are equally valuable.

Who maintains the repository of installable applications for the Pi? Is there a process to get a new version of a package added? Is there an alternate repository with later releases? Is there an Open Source or other community project to create a later version repository?
You do not state what Operating System, Wheezy or Jessie, so if the later it will generally have newer packages...

If you want newer packages use a Rolling Release like ARCHLinux Arm

The RPi ARMv7 2B can run Ubuntu, but is it any better because it has newer packages of SOME software ?

Re: Why so old software versions using apt-get?

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:38 pm
by experix
What is the degree of oldness you have seen, in terms of release date, bug fixes and new features? If something seems stale based on comparing release dates, you can probably find a list of changes made in each release and figure out whether there is something that justifies going to the trouble of downloading the newest version. But this facet of documentation is nowhere near as standardized as it could be, and not always available.

Re: Why so old software versions using apt-get?

Posted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:53 pm
by Heater
The biggy for me recently is node.js. Jessie now has node.js at version 0.10.x. Which was ancient a year ago. Since then the node project has been forked into iojs. Which was updated with the new V8 Javascript engine, providing a lot of the latest JavaScript language standard features and a lot more speed. Then remerged with node.js resulting in node now being at version 5.x.y !

Luckily node.js provides packages that run on Jessie.

Frankly I don't know why we need all the application level programs in an OS as OS maintained components. Unless the OS itself depends on them. For example on my PC I have Firefox and Chrome browsers from Mozilla and Google packages. They keep themselves up to date and all is good. They can do that because the underlying OS is stable.