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For example, the OpenCV package (because I'm waiting for that to compile as I write that :) )

Ubuntu has an OpenCV 2.3.1 package while the latest is 2.4.3. Suppose I'd like to skip compiling from source which can take some time. So what I'm wondering is, is there any (well-known/reliable) third-party site that provides unofficial debs with newer software versions than what's available in the official Ubuntu repos? Cause if not, that just means I'm going to be having those annoying compile sessions more often than I like :)

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The main reason that you do not find the "newer-bleeding-egde" packages in the Ubuntu repositories is the stability issue. Those packages are use-at-your-own-risk and do not enter the Ubuntu Release Repository. Caution is always stated, or suggested when utilizing the newest untested packages.

Before its released (any package) it is tested for the main stream of users. This is how the distro maintains integrity.

This is also a how Alphas Betas and RC's come about.

Testing. If you are willing to compile and test them it is suggested that you give some feedback as to what works and what doesn't. We ALL would like more development.

If you are looking for the most current/stable projects then GO HERE

For researching those projects GO HERE ---> favorite of mine

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I am not sure if I am telling you old news here, but generally you can often use a PPA to get newer versions of software than are available in the repositories.

According to my search that approach will not be useful for OpenCV though (no newer versions in any PPA). Please have a look at What are PPAs and how do I use them? for general information.

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Right, I know about PPAs. My question was basically, do you know of a well-known, big PPA that provides new versions of lots of popular packages? If I had to search for different PPAs every time, I might as well take the time to compile the source because it's basically not a lot harder than finding that PPA – Stefan Monov Jan 1 '13 at 19:07
There you have it: you might as well compile from source. – Joe Atzberger Jul 18 '13 at 18:01

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