viva PowerPC

Debian backports

Some tend to live on the edge and use Debian Testing branch. Some live on the basis of regular updates and use current Debian Stable branch (which is now Wheezy). And some, just like me, are too lazy to upgrade to a new major version every two years, because they use Linux as their second operating system. Those people can benefit from Debian backports.

Backports are packages taken from the next Debian release (called "testing"), adjusted and recompiled for usage on Debian stable. Because the package is also present in the next Debian release, you can easily upgrade your stable+backports system once the next Debian release comes out. (In a few cases, usually for security updates, backports are also created from the Debian unstable distribution.)

Backports cannot be tested as extensively as Debian stable, and backports are provided on an as-is basis, with risk of incompatibilities with other components in Debian stable. Use with care!


I am very well aware why I should update my software on regular basis. But my computer is behind double NAT, it uses quite rare CPU architecture and I have disabled all potentialy insecure browser plugins, so I see no reason why I should go through operating system installation every couple of years. On the other side, that does not mean, that I want to use web browser which is eighteen major versions behind the current release. That is why I added to my /etc/apt/sources.list following line:

deb squeeze-backports main

Then I ran apt-get update as superuser and voilĂ : I can now update my old Firefox 3.5 at least to Firefox 10, which not great, but people using Wheezy Stable are in the same situation. You can do the same, just use mirror of your choice.

And one more thing: Even if you added backports in your sources list, you have to install packages using apt-get -t squeeze-backports install "package", because otherwise package from standard source will be installed.

Your comments: 2

[1] Keith (July 19, 2013 at 7:58 PM CEST)
Debian 7 (Wheezy) has been upgraded to Firefox 17 in 7.1.
[2] Logout (July 22, 2013 at 10:09 AM CEST)
Thanks for info. According to this there still is just Iceweasel 10 in Wheezy stable, but when they update stable, the same update will be AFAIK made in backports. So this is good news in either case.

Leave a comment

Please enclose every link in your comment in a pair of square brackets, ie. []. Thank you.

Your comment
Type in digits from the string on the right *5*6*4*2*5*