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From what I understand, LTS releases for servers are meant to be stable releases.

Now say I am running Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 LTS, if I get a particular package, like say puppet, it will load 0.25 or whatever.

Now if I want to load the latest version, what are my options?

I can get download via source and manually build, but then I have to setup start/stop scripts etc.

Is the only other option to update my source list? If I do that, what are the ramifications? Will it effect apt-get update/upgrade commands?

Does it even make sense, should I just go with the latest version like 11.04 Natty?

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2 Answers 2

On Debian-based systems like Ubuntu you generally have two options for installing newer software on older releases:

  • You can use a backport of the desired package for your system - that is, a newer version of the package built with the libraries and base system of the older distribution.

See Debian Backports and Ubuntu Backports. Backports are generally safe, although your package may not be backported and you will of course probably lose the stability offered by the LTS version of the package.

  • You can use APT pinning for safely having more than one source in your sources.list and pick the desired source when installing a package. You can find a nice, simple tutorial here.

Do note that APT pinning only makes the job of using multiple sources easier, and doesn't work magic - you may still need to pull newer versions of libraries as a dependency for the package you want to install, and might damage your system if you go too far. APT will generally warn you before doing something dangerous, though, and APT pinning done right does guarantee that apt-get upgrade and the like work just fine.

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LTS is for folks who want stability, yes. That means that for the most part, package versions don't change. Fixes from later versions are often backported, particularly security fixes. However, as the goal is stability, there is effort to ensure the package upgrades do not introduce new/changed behavior, such as going from Apache 1.3 to 2.2.

If you want the latest and greatest, you need to track each new Ubuntu release as it comes out, realizing that newer versions of packages may bring incompatibilities or require extra work to transition.

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