I recently realized that even though Ubuntu LTS is receiving 5 years of support, a lot of the packages in Ubuntu LTS package repository are not updated with the latest stable releases.

For example, php5 package in Lucid (10.04 LTS) is at 5.3.2-1ubuntu4.17; while the same php5 package in Precise (12.04 LTS) is at 5.3.10-1ubuntu3.2.

Why the discrepancies? Update one while not updating the other despite an Ubuntu release is still being supported?

And, what are the package update policies as to whether to update a package or not.


The update policy is for security updates and critical bugfixes only. New upstream releases are not part of that. This isn't an LTS-only policy; any sane distro that aims to be a stable basis for infrastructure will have a very similar policy.

  • I do understand that. php5 is only an example, but probably a good one. There has been quite a few security updates from 5.3.2 to 5.3.10, why is it not being updated on 10.04 LTS? – uzyn Jul 25 '12 at 9:54
  • Even the latest one 5.3.15 contains a security update on stream implementation. – uzyn Jul 25 '12 at 9:55
  • It is being updated. You will find that the Ubuntu package contains fixes for all of the security vulnerabilities known to exist in that version of PHP. – womble Jul 25 '12 at 10:35
  • What does that version means? For this example, they are both 5.3. I'm really curious about the policy behind this. – uzyn Jul 25 '12 at 11:41
  • 1
    Each minor release of PHP (e.g. 5.3.14 to 5.3.15) includes a variety of security and bug fixes of varying severity. Ubuntu LTS, Red Hat Enterprise, etc., only backport the ones they feel are the most critical. – Michael Hampton Jul 26 '12 at 2:42

I've researched and found acceptable answers to my question:

Ubuntu team outlines the decisions on when or if a package should be updated at their wiki on stable release updates.

Also, the procedures in determining if a package is worthy of a security update are outlined at the security team update procedure.

See also: Related discussion on AskUbuntu

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