Updating software between releases - where backports/SRU isn't enough

Scott Kitterman ubuntu at kitterman.com
Sun Jul 29 00:34:27 UTC 2007

On Saturday 28 July 2007 19:28, Tim Hull wrote:
> I thought I'd bring up an issue that I see with Ubuntu - and most Linux
> distributions as a whole.Anyway, the issue is that once a release is
> declared "stable", there are no more updates beyond security updates
> available - at least without resorting to ugly tarballs or random
> unofficial package repositories.  This is all fine and dandy, unless you
> need a feature or a bugfix deemed non-critical - especially if it's the
> kernel or some other low-level component like Xorg.
> These types of things are covered by neither Stable Release Updates nor
> Backports, and as such users who need a new kernel for hardware support or
> who need many other software updates are left going about it the old
> tarball way or by trying to install software from the unstable
> repositories.  In my own case, the situation is that the 2.6.20 kernel in
> Feisty can't suspend my MacBook.  This is fixed in 2.6.22, but to install
> this I must either 1) get the Gutsy kernel, in which case I can't install
> linux-headers (needs glibc 2.6) 2) compile my own kernel from source, or 3)
> run Gutsy.
> I can see many other situations where this come up - simply Google the many
> "running Ubuntu on xyz" articles and you'll find countless "recompile
> this", "install this from unofficial repository X" etc etc.  This may be
> fine for me and for most experienced users, but it remans an issue that,
> IMHO, must be resolved if Bug #1 will ever be fixed.
> Is anyone in Ubuntu is doing any work on this issue? This could possibly
> include expanding backports, but could also entail making it easier to
> build from fresh source for the new user (think BSD ports, but easier). If
> so, or if there is interest in working on this, I'd love to help - it seems
> like an area where much improvement could be made.
> I hope this e-mail doesn't rub anyone the wrong way - I'm NOT asking for
> anything to be done specifically for me.  I appreciate all the good work
> Ubuntu and Debian are doing, and I hope it continues.
> Tim
> P.S. I may send this to debian-devel as well, as this issue is also present
> (albeit to a greater degree with their length between stable releases) in
> Debian.

For LTS releases I agree this is a problem.  I also think Ubuntu is addressing 
it in a sane way.  Most of the changes included in the upcoming 6.06.2 are 
related to supporting newer hardware.  My launchpad-foo isn't up to providing 
a link, but you can find a link of bugs that are targeted for 6.06.2.

For non-LTS releases, I'm not convinced there's a sane way to approach this.  
I'd be curious if you have a specific proposal.

Scott K

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