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My current favorite game is Simutrans. Debian already picks up new releases, and Ubuntu imports from Debian.

The game developers release a new version irregularly every 3-9 months, and most multiplayer servers promptly migrate to the newest version. This means that the Ubuntu version is about one or two releases behind (currently three behind!), and that Ubuntu players cannot use the servers because their client version is too old.

How can I get the pre-release version backported to the current release?

Do I just file a backport request? Every time? (2-3 times each year?)

How can I make it easy on the Backporters team?

Is there a team I should join or permissions I should seek?

Or some other avenue I should pursue?

share|improve this question
I realize that backporting won't help if the new version is released after Debian Import Freeze. One problem at a time... – user535733 Apr 23 '12 at 0:01
Yes, what to do to make a package easily available for installation if it is not also present in any Ubuntu release would be a separate question. But the short answer to that question is that you should consider creating and maintaining a PPA, or seeing if somebody else would be willing to do so. – Eliah Kagan Apr 23 '12 at 0:38
If I knew the actual package name, I could tell you the backportability of the package. – micahg Apr 23 '12 at 6:31
The package name is, well, "simutrans" – user535733 Feb 17 '13 at 6:53
You could do your own backports. – Faheem Mitha Mar 5 '14 at 15:56
up vote 2 down vote accepted

One of the purposes of a backport request being a bug report on Launchpad that is filed by a specific person, is that this person can (and usually will) indicate that they are able to test backported packages. Thus, by filing the request and testing backported packages as maintainers on the backports team create them, you contribute significantly to the backporting process.

Since you are, in effect, doing part of the work of backporting by requesting the backport, indicating you can test it, and testing it, it's actually generally easier on the backporters if you file the request each time, because then you are making yourself available to help each time.

However, next time you file a backport request, you may want to indicate in it that you believe the package to be in perpetual need of backporting, and that you are perpetually available to test backports. That way, if there is a more efficient way to deal with this, it will likely be devised by the people who are actually doing the work of backporting (including you).

There is a new script in ubuntu-dev-tools starting in 12.04 called requestbackport that will show you what needs to be tested for each backport. It provides a list with "checkboxes" that people can check off as the items are tested.

Using the backports repositories as opposed to PPAs for new releases of packages where possible allows users to get the latest version without having to modify their sources. Starting in 11.10, backports is enabled by default, but given a lower priority than the release packages. This means that someone has to explicitly choose the backport version if there is the same package in the main repository.

share|improve this answer
Thank you! That's exactly the information I needed. – user535733 Feb 17 '13 at 6:54

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