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DebianReleases > Backports


You are running Debian stable because you prefer the stable Debian tree. It runs great, there is just one problem: The software is a little bit outdated compared to other distributions. That is where backports come in.

Backports are recompiled packages from testing (mostly) and unstable (in a few cases only, e.g. security updates), so they will run without new libraries (wherever it is possible) on a stable Debian distribution. It is recommended to pick out single backports which fit your needs, and not to use all backports available.

This article illustrates how to:

For official instructions on how to use Debian Backports, visit http://backports.debian.org/Instructions/.

If you want to create a non-official backport of a package you need, have a look at SimpleBackportCreation.

If you want to build a backport with the intent of sharing it with others within Debian, see the BuildingFormalBackports page.


Configuring your stable system

Adding the repository

Using Synaptic

backports_synaptic_1.png

backports_synaptic_2.png

deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian wheezy-backports main contrib non-free

backports_synaptic_3.png

Using the command line

Become root and open the file /etc/apt/sources.list in your favorite editor:

human@debian:~$ su
Password:
debian:/home/human# nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Add the following lines:

# Backports repository
deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian wheezy-backports main contrib non-free

If you are a free software enthusiast, you might want to remove the contrib and non-free sections. (See Debian sections for details.)

Now that you have added the repository, update APT's cache to include the backports in the list of available packages:

debian:/home/human# aptitude update

Done.

Using backports

Finding backports

There are a several different ways to find out if a backport of a certain Debian package exists. A pretty convenient one is using Debian's web-based package search (packages.debian.org). If you are running Iceweasel, simply use the built-in search plugin (Deb Search).

Installing backports on the command line

The backports repository is deactivated by default. So, if you want to install a backported package, you will have to state that explicitly.

For example:

debian:/home/human# aptitude -t wheezy-backports install iceweasel

The -t option here specifies wheezy-backports as the target release. This would install Iceweasel 3.5 from Backports instead of version 3.0 from the Debian stable release.

FAQ

Reporting bugs

Because of limitations in the Debian Bug Tracking System, any bugs relevant to backported packages still have to be reported to the debian-backports list.

Migrate from backports.org to backports.debian.org

On Sept. 5th, 2010, Backports became an official service (see announcement).

Systems configured to use backports.org should reconfigured to use the new repository/URL (in /etc/apt/source.list*), since backports.org service will be stopped at some point.

  1. replace backports.org with ftp.debian.org in /etc/apt/source.list*.

  2. run aptitude update

  3. remove the backports.org key from your keyring. Depending how you installed it...
    • apt-get purge debian-backports-keyring
      or

    • apt-key del 16BA136C

External links