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I've read in at least three places that the "backports" repository is more tested (and hence stable) than the "proposed" repository. However, the official Ubuntu webpages state:

"Unsupported Updates (raring-backports)"... Packages may contain new features, may introduce new interfaces, and have not been sufficiently tested to be included in the 'proposed' repository.

This implies to me that packages firstly land in the "backports" repository. If they are then sufficiently tested, then they will move to the "proposed" repository. Hence, "proposed" would appear to be more tested than "backports". Is this true, am I reading the official website wrong, or is this misinformation?

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Despite what it says on that page, I don't think packages in backports move to proposed. – saiarcot895 May 17 '14 at 11:06
@saiarcot895 I hadn't heard that elsewhere either, but I figured the official page had the official truth. :) – Sparhawk May 17 '14 at 15:02
Re: the close vote. I'm not sure how it's opinion-based? Shouldn't these repos have strict definitions on what makes it in? – Sparhawk May 17 '14 at 17:14
I'd suggest you edit your question to more focus on the part that seems to imply a sequence of steps/events regarding a packet/version. "Which repo is more stable" sounds very opinion-based. (I am voting to leave it open) – guntbert May 17 '14 at 19:51
Good point. Thanks @guntbert. I meant to use "opinion" as a proxy for "tested", implying sequence, as you have interpreted. – Sparhawk May 18 '14 at 1:36
up vote 1 down vote accepted

As was nicely explained in the answer there

both repositories have a different purpose. So in terms of stability we would compare apples with pears.


  • Packages eligible for an upgrade will have to go to proposed for testing. Only if they don't fail they will eventually move to the major repositories where updates will be presented to all users.

  • Stable packages from later releases will sometimes be made available to a previous release in backports. They likely are not thoroughly tested with the older release. These packages will often not be made available in the major repositories but if they do they will have to survive testing in proposed first.

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I did read the other answer (and linked it in my question), but I was just confused since it conflicted with the official webpage. Ok, so from proposed, packages can go to major or backports then. So then I guess the official webpage is incorrect. – Sparhawk May 17 '14 at 17:16

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