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Sometimes I'd like to know what version of certain apps was in various releases, or what ver is planned to be in the upcoming one.

Is there some such database?

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You can look up existing releases at http://packages.ubuntu.com/. For future releases that is not necessarily always planed ahead, but more depends on what versions are available at freeze time, how actively the package is maintained, etc.

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And how can I ask for upgrade of some package? E.g. NetBeans is quite old. Does that go through bugs.launchpad.net? –  Ondra Žižka Oct 23 '12 at 3:07
    
Possibly. Do note that for already released Ubuntu versions, the only package upgrades are for security alt stability issues, and in that case it is usually just the specific fix which is backported. For the development release the normal thing to do is getting what is then available in Debian testing alt. unstable. But if the situation is special/important enough Ubuntu sometimes do diverge. –  andol Oct 23 '12 at 16:26
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