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I'm currently using the Horde projects IMP, DIMP, MIMP, Ingo, Kronolith, Mnemo, Nag, Turba and Sork. I ignored the (rather outdated) Debian packages and installed the upstream versions.

A few years later, my Horde installation is a bit outdated and I consider updating each project and each version individually a pain.

The Debian stable packages are as outdated as ever, but squeeze will deliver reasonably current versions, so I'm considering switching to the Debian packages as soon as squeeze is released.

What would you recommend for software packages like Horde? Using the upstream versions and manually updating or using the distribution's packages?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I ever since use the upstream version of Hordes' turba, kronolith, dimp, ingo and imp. I know, upgrading is a real pain in the a**, with diff-ing all the changes and nonetheless I'm still worried about something blowing up.

I really love Debian, but I can't stand their packaging of web-software, with all that apache include files (not everyone uses apache) and outdated packages. No problem with system software, but they change too much in my opinion in web-software packages.

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If you want to stay up to date, then sure mainstream version is the way to go.
If you prefer the better integration and better manageability then go for the debian package.
Anyway if you want newer version of debian packages, you could tray to install debian sid packages in stable release (search pinning in google) or you could try to recompile the packages from sid (or squeeze) in stable release.

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I suggest a combination: backport the package(s) in question from unstable or testing to stable. This allows you to roll back your changes easily (by removing the installed package and reinstalling the original earlier version(s)) while still being able to keep at least reasonably up to date. If the need arises, you could even do a full backport yourself instead of just building the package(s) from testing or unstable on your machine - that's a bit more work though. If you do end up going that route, or if you need to packageize 3rd party software, I can recommend checkinstall to make your life easier - it's an oldie but a goodie. Good luck!

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Maybe I don't know what features I'm missing, but I'm fine with the packages in debian stable. BTW:

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