Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

So I've been playing around with VirtualBox and both of the above Ubuntu versions and I've noticed that there are some differences between the available packages when doing a apt-cache search <package>. Some of these I'm sure are obvious, as they potentially only work on their respective systems. But I've noticed specifically several ruby packages differ. So my question is whether or not there's a way to get some of the ruby packages (ruby1.9.1-full for example) which only seem to be available on 9.10 (yup, I did a sudo apt-get update on both 9.10 and 9.04) on my 9.04 system? Is there a way I can just do a kernel upgrade on 9.04, or whatever else may be needed in order to get at these more recent packages?

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Ubuntu archives are versioned for a reason; software depends on libraries and even compiler versions to build. Each release of Ubuntu usually carries only a single version of system libraries. Sometimes one package needs a newer version of a library to work, while another package isn't ready for it. In that case, the burden is on Ubuntu maintainers to create a consistent archive, patching software if necessary.

If you want newer software in older releases of Ubuntu, this is called a backport. Backports can be easy if it's versioned dependencies haven't changed, or basically impossible if it requires upgrading system libraries. Other than that, your only option is to dist-upgrade the 9.04 install to 9.10.

Of course, Ruby is a whole 'nother kind of special. Ruby maintainers and Debian packagers don't appear to see eye to eye on packaging here. I think most Rubyists skip .deb packaging of Ruby.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the answer - I was just hoping to find something easier than installing ruby from source. Just wound up doing that. Thanks for the insight though. – bergyman Mar 18 '10 at 18:58

For several packages, you can add backports to /etc/apt/sources.list, which give you more backports than the main repository. See

share|improve this answer

Ubuntu only backport security updates to the repositories and leave the rest for releases. You might be able to find a repository to provide it, but it won't be official.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.