Ubuntu – Why doesn’t Ubuntu ship an application, or the latest versions of some applications?


What reasons are there for applications in Ubuntu not being the most up-to-date, and why are some applications not available, in its repositories?

Best Answer

Updates for final versions of Ubuntu only happen in line with the Stable Release Update Policy - that is to say, things will only be upgraded if there is an overwhelming benefit from doing so (like a security issue).

This is done to protect the majority of users from instability that new versions can bring. If you want a "rolling release" another distribution like Arch or Gentoo might be a better fit, otherwise there are unofficial PPAs for certain packages (at your own risk).

Updates for the version of Ubuntu in development are more fluid but still depend on three things:

  • Stability - If the new version is known to be unstable, it's less likely to find it's way into the repositories in time.

  • Testing - If there isn't enough people to test to new version, it's less likely to be added.

  • Packaging - If the maintainer is busy with other packages, it's much less likely to be packaged. For instance inkscape 0.47 missed the Maverick deadline and so wasn't added to Ubuntu until the Natty release.

There has been a lot of talk about how to solve this issue and allow projects to release in Ubuntu new versions for older releases, especially Long Term Support releases.

See this advice for scheduling: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/SponsorshipProcess#Consult%20the%20Release%20Schedule