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How do software updates work?

I'm using ubuntu and any now and then new updates are offered for installation. However I've noticed these updates don't necessarily offer the latest update for any one package, but why?

For example, today, under ubuntu 11.04 I'm beeing offered to update the linux kernel from version to, but on my secondary computer running xubuntu 11.10 the kernel version is already 3.0!? Other examples are the nautilus package which remains at version 2.32 in ubuntu 11.04 and which is already at version 3.2.1 on xubuntu 11.10, or mono JIT compiler sticking to 2.6.7 in 11.04 but already at 2.10.5 in 11.10.

So, does anyone has a clue as to why these updates are updating my system to old versions?

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migrated from Nov 28 '11 at 21:30

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

marked as duplicate by Jorge Castro, James, Marco Ceppi Nov 29 '11 at 14:03

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

Your Ubuntu 11.04 is a LTS version. It is supposed to work with older/more stable software. The 11.10 should be a more bleding edge distribution. It depends on your usage, but what you described is the expected behavior.

If you want to upgrade from one version to another, you should follow the instructions provided by the Ubuntu developers:

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Plus, LTS or not, major version numbers for packages are usually fixed per release, so as long as you don't do a dist-upgrade, you'll be at 2.6.38.x. Notice that, as @haole says, there's also advantages to staying on LTS! – Miquel Nov 28 '11 at 13:28
ok, so if I understand properly, ubuntu ppas are segregated per release version and so, ubuntu doesn't update all ppas with the same packages. Should I add the ppas for 11.10 within the software sources in my 11.04 system, would I get the latest versions for all packages? (I assume this is what a distribution upgrade would be all about...) – djahma Nov 28 '11 at 13:50
If you want the Ubuntu 11.10 packages, you should consider doing the full upgrade, or else you will have to maintain an hybrid system by your own (not worth it IMO). – haole Nov 28 '11 at 16:34
11.04 is not an LTS version. The most recent LTS version is 10.04 and the next one will be 12.04. See also – Ward Muylaert Nov 28 '11 at 21:25

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