A few tips for a better use of the Debian backports

If you work with a Debian Lenny, you may want to use a software whose version is more recent that the one available in the Lenny repositories.
This is easy if you use the Debian backports. These are special repositories which contain more recent softwares.
Let’s take an example with OpenOffice. There is a metapackage named openoffice.org which installs all the components of OpenOffice.org suite.
Here is the version available in Lenny repositories : 1:2.4.1
Here is the version available in the Lenny backports : 1:3.2.0-4

To get information about the versions available for the package openoffice.org :
fool@localhost:~$apt-cache policy openoffice.org

apt-cache policy openoffice.org
Installed: 1:3.2.0-4~bpo50+1
Candidate: 1:3.2.0-4~bpo50+1
Version table:
*** 1:3.2.0-4~bpo50+1 0
1 http://www.backports.org lenny-backports/main Packages
100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
1:2.4.1+dfsg-1+lenny6 0
500 http://security.debian.org stable/updates/main Packages
1:2.4.1+dfsg-1+lenny3 0
500 http://ftp.fr.debian.org stable/main Packages

By default, the 1:2.4.1 version will be installed.
If you want to install a fresher version, let’s take the one found in the backports :

root@localhost:~#apt-get -t lenny-backports install openoffice.org

It will install all the dependencies needed.

4 thoughts on “A few tips for a better use of the Debian backports

  1. You don’t need to be root to run apt-cache. It’s better to run it as user because, you know, ‘don’t use the name of root in vain’ ^_^

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