I installed 12.04 RC a few days before the release date and it is now updated fully. It's working just fine and it is my OS for regular work.

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I have a question regarding "Software Sources". In the picture, three items are ticked (by default, I presume) under Install updates from:. Should I untick Unsupported updates (precise-backports) since I now want a relatively stable user experience (although I run sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get upgrade quite a few times a day and that hasn't been a problem at all.)


This is not necessary. If you run

apt-cache policy | grep backports

you'll see that the Backports repository is pinned to 100. This means that you have to explicitly choose to install the backport version of a package if a version also exists in the non-backports repository. The advantage this has, is that if a package is only available in backports, you'll be able to install it without modifying anything else.


I was confused and concerned about this too.

I must admit, I'm not a fan of this, even if it's setup in a way such that a backport can never supersede a official packages. Especially as this is an LTS, I see two issues with this:

  1. Bad branding, bad first experience - I think almost any user who first comes across this tab will think, "Oh no, scary unsupported updates are somehow enabled on my super stable Ubuntu 12.04 LTS!"

  2. The default is to let users unknowingly install unsupported software of possibly poor quality - I doubt it's clear in the Software Center whether a package is only in backports or not. We want the user to trust the Software Center. The default settings should have a strong social contract: "Everything you install from here is high-quality and trustworthy". Of course, a user might add PPAs, and then the contract has changed. But the default should be safe and reassuring.

I'm a Debian greybeard, and when I saw this, I immediately thought it was a bug. I unchecked it, and then used synaptic to make sure nothing was installed from backports.

Honestly, I'd like the backports checkbox to be removed. PPAs are a much better, fined-grained way for someone to install unsupported software, should they want to.

  • You can have the same concerns about the universe/multiverse components which get minimal testing. however, if bugs are found, they can be fixed if people are willing to help. Backports enabled by default allows users to get newer versions of packages on a stable release which is something that a lot of users want. It is opt-in in software center, so you can choose if you want the release version (default) or the backports version. If there's a bug in the backports version, please file a bug against the appropriate backports project: launchpad.net/ubp
    – micahg
    Oct 10 '12 at 3:03

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