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Why can't I update applications without upgrading the whole OS?

I frequently find versions of software in the Ubuntu Software Center lag behind stable versions available direct from developers.

Why does the Ubuntu Software Center not offer the latest and greatest stable release of software as soon as it is made available to the Linux community?

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marked as duplicate by Jorge Castro, fossfreedom Jun 1 '12 at 20:17

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3 Answers 3

Because of the sheer number of programs that are available for Linux, and the number of people it would take to constantly monitor every single one on a daily basis, reviewing the changes/updates and packaging them for Ubuntu.

There's more to getting a package in the Ubuntu/Debian repositories than just publishing it on Github, it has to be packaged for that distro, and often reviewed by other distro developers. If you'd like to help decrease the lag between the upstream developer publishing a new version and the time it takes said version to get into the Ubuntu repositories then I encourage you to look at becoming a Ubuntu or Debian developer.

Also, for Debian at least, once the current version of the distro is released, only bugfixes are applied to the packages in the repositories, new features have to wait for the next release of the operating system (IIUC). I don't know if Ubuntu operates in the same way but that's how it works for Debian and Ubuntu is based on Debian.

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As you hint at in your last paragraph, this is really much more about Ubuntu's policy of releasing updates to software in stable Ubuntu releases only for serious bugs, than it is about the process of packaging software. Packaging software is actually pretty quick and easy. –  Eliah Kagan Jun 1 '12 at 18:47
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You can add unofficial software sources like PPA's, to get more bleeding-edge software. The software you see in the Software Center is whatever is provided by the software sources you have enabled.

So this question isn't really about the Software Center itself, but instead about why the official software sources, enabled by default in Ubuntu, don't provide the latest and greatest versions of software as they come out.

This is because of Ubuntu's policy of maintaining a stable user experience, and predictable functionality, within a release. When an Ubuntu release comes out, updates are not released to add features, or even to fix minor bugs. Instead, they are released only to fix major bugs (or any security vulnerability).

There is a small exception to this for Long Term Support releases, to support new hardware, provided that doing so doesn't break any existing functionality.

The community documentation on Stable Release Updates explains this policy in detail, including its rationale.

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Process is really simple, at the moment of feature freeze in the devlopment of a release the software list is established, only stable versions of softwares at that moment are in , beta and new versions are out until next release.

That's for providing an experience as much stable as they can.

If you want to reach the newer version of an application before the next release you had to manage your ppa to accomplish that.

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